Michigan to Deny Drivers Licenses to Undocumented and Lawfully Present Immigrants

A new policy goes into effect in Michigan today. Undocumented residents will not be allowed to obtain drivers' licenses. But, that's not all.

The new policy also prohibits people who are legal but not permanent U.S. residents from getting licenses. Legislation to allow those on temporary work or student visas to get licenses is pending in the Legislature.

States that allow drivers licenses for the undocumented include:

Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington do not require drivers to prove legal status to obtain a license.

Unfortunately, we can't count on any of the Democratic candidates to take a strong stand on bringing the undocumented out of the shadows. While Hillary flubbed the question during a Democratic debate, John Edwards opposed licenses for the undocumented. And Barack Obama, well, he first said he was in favor of it but then weaseled out just moments later. Then he went back to his first position. As Hillary says, it's hard to figure out where he stands on a number of issues. This is one of them. [quotes below.]

"On the issue that apparently tripped up Senator Clinton earlier, the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, I take it, Senator Obama, you support giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Is that right?" asked Blitzer.

"When I was a state senator in Illinois, I voted to require that illegal aliens get trained, get a license, get insurance to protect public safety. That was my intention," said Obama.

"And - but I have to make sure that people understand. The problem we have here is not driver's licenses. Undocumented workers do not come here to drive. They don't go - they're not coming here to go to the In-N-Out Burger. That's not the reason they're here," he said.

"They're here to work. And so instead of being distracting by what has now become a wedge issue, let's focus on actually solving the problem that this administration, the Bush administration, had done nothing about it," Obama added.

"Well, let's go through everybody because I want to be precise," said Blitzer. "Do you support or oppose driver's licenses for illegal immigrants?"

Obama responded: "I am not proposing that that's what we do. What I'm saying is that we can't ..."

At this evasion, the audience started laughing. "No, no, no, no," said Obama. "Look, I have already said, I support the notion that we have to deal with public safety and that driver's licenses at the same level can make that happen. But what I also know ... Wolf, is that if we keep on getting distracted by this problem, then we are not solving it."

And then:

Blitzer then quizzed the other candidates for a "yes or no answer." Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said he opposed giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens, while noting that once he put people on a "path to citizenship," he would let them get licenses. As in the earlier debate, Dodd said he opposed giving licenses to illegal aliens.

Then Blitzer put the question to Obama again. "Senator Obama, yes or no?" he asked.

"Yes," said Obama.

In contrast to her answer to this same question in the Oct. 30 debate, Clinton's answer this time was succinct. "No," she said.
< Barack Obama on Ronald Reagan: Video from Reno RJ Editorial Board Meeting | The Real Election is In November >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    As I read CA DMV requirements, (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 11:54:57 PM EST
    legal residency in CA is required, but not necessarily U.S. citizenship:


    Immigration: A really complex problem (none / 0) (#2)
    by felizarte on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 12:02:22 AM EST
    that must be discussed in the open with the American people.  I think that before any immigration solutions are enacted, something  has to be done with the constitutional definition of who is a citizen.  Most countries consider citizenship on the basis of "blood"--if one or both parents are citizens, the children are citizens no matter where they are born;  In the U.S. anybody born in the U.S. is considered a citizen.  This factors has contributed to the present problem.  Technically, any couple or if a woman, from any country comes to the U.S. and gives birth here, the childre by virtue of its birth certificate is automatically a U.S. citizen.  And the child is automatically entitled to all benefits available to all citizens including welfare and other subsidies.  A person who enters the U.S. can have as many children born here and be entitled to welfare because the children are u.s. citizens and most of the time, when subsidies are computed by the Health & Social services agency, the subsidy for the mothers are also computed.  And of course, by this time, it seems inhumane to deport the mother of American citizens.  I can just imagine that this situation has helped to bloat the welfare and medicare costs, in addition to the greed of the insurance companies.

    It is obvious to me that the first thing that needs to be fixed is the constitutional definition of "American born citizen."

    i could be wrong, (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 12:06:43 AM EST
    but i don't believe the bringing undocumented immigrants out in the open is really a state responsibility, it's a federal one.

    i just have serious doubts that state legislative bodies, or their counterparts in congress, are going to be leaned on heavily, on behalf of those here illegally, by the citizens of the state.

    i absolutely agree that a comprehensive policy, at the federal level, must be developed, to deal with this situation, fairly to all concerned. what MI intends is pretty close to the "Real ID" concept, if i'm not mistaken.

    So, what's next? (none / 0) (#4)
    by LonewackoDotCom on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 01:16:06 AM EST
    OK, let's say we bring the millions "out of the shadows" (ignoring for the moment that they aren't really in the shadows and they shouldn't be here in the first place).

    What that's going to do is give far-left groups that support illegal activity even more power, and they'll use that to prevent future enforcement.

    Combined with the magnet effect, that leads to even more illegal immigration, and not too much later millions more are "in the shadows".

    What do we do then? I guess another round of bringing them "out of the shadows", right?

    At least shampoo bottles include "Rinse. Repeat." Too bad that amnesty supporters aren't that forthright.

    just the opposite (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 01:35:36 AM EST
    They are here and driving, now they will have to have insurance in case they get in an accident. They will be able to get jobs and pay taxes since they will have a means to get to work. They will open bank accounts (when enough states change those laws) so that the Govt. will have even more of a record where they live and work.  

    iirc, this topic has been brought up here (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 12:15:19 PM EST
    many times on TL before and that the truth of the matter is that there is no proven connection between getting a license and choosing to fork over the dough for insurance.

    There is, however, a proven connection between stepped-up enforcement of insurance requirements and increased rates of people choosing to buy insurance.

    The thought that because the DMV can/will "revoke" a DL when it discovers that license-holders do not have insurance will then force license holders to get insurance has often been proven not to be the case.

    Reason being that licenses are used for so many other things other than driving a car and no one other than a police officer can/will determine whether the license someone presents is "revoked" or not.

    Therefore it's utility when "revoked" remains intact enough  such that the holder is often not enough encouraged to spend the dough for insurance and get the DL "un-revoked."


    And, regarding getting to work, (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 12:41:20 PM EST
    in my experience, they are very capable and knowledgeable about using our public transportation systems, and are also very sociable - iow, if one guy/gal has a license, the other seats in his/her car are often full of friends who do not.

    Lastly, regarding bank accounts. (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 12:51:40 PM EST
    I think the use of expensive pay-day check-cashing outfits by the poor, whether the poor are undocumented or not, is something that needs to be addressed, but in a positive way.

    iow, I don't support legislation that would restrict the check-cashing places more, but rather make it more attractive/easier for the poor to have legit bank accounts, if they so choose.


    You can come on a temporary work visa (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jen M on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 07:36:59 AM EST
    but can't drive to get there? Students not allowed to drive?

    Whats with that?

    More stupid laws.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 07:52:42 AM EST
    It's like the govt. is begging for us to break and not respect the law.

    The lack of a valid license never stopped me from driving my arse to work.


    but surely (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jen M on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 09:54:53 AM EST
    you respect the speed limit!

    I respect.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 10:16:59 AM EST
    lawbreakers.  We're the only ones with our heads on straight!

    Seriously...if you follow every law to the letter, you must be some kind of moron.


    I ain't (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jen M on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 01:30:48 PM EST
    talkin. Nope.

    Michigan to deny drivers licenses to undocumented! (none / 0) (#14)
    by mehek1 on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 05:51:49 AM EST
    Should we penalize them because they are trying to do the right thing and obey the law?? Aren't we saying that we want undocumented people to obey the law?? Then when they are trying to be good Americans and obey the law by getting a driver's license, let's allow them to do so!

    Michigan Treatment Centers