More states allow driver’s licenses for unauthorized residents |

More states allow driver’s licenses for unauthorized residents

In actions that have major implications for farm workers, 10 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont – joined New Mexico, Utah and Washington in extending driver’s license eligibility to unauthorized residents, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a report on state immigration laws passed in 2013.

While conservatives are urging Congress to allow the states a more vigorous role in immigration enforcement, state legislatures seemed to take a “wait and see” attitude in 2012 pending the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s SB 1070, the report said.

That ruling struck down three of four immigration enforcement provisions. Also in 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security implemented new policy (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that provided young unauthorized immigrants a temporary respite from deportation and authorization to work.

“These two federal actions appear to have shifted the immigration landscape in the states, from omnibus immigration enforcement bills to legislation expanding eligibility for some state benefits,” the report said. F

–The Hagstrom Report