NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 7, 2006

Maryland has become a magnet for illegal immigrants living outside the state who want to obtain driver's licenses. Since March, the average weekly number of applications by non-citizens has nearly doubled, says the Washington Times.

The problem is that while other states have been making it more difficult for illegals to obtain licenses, Maryland has been going in the opposite direction:

  • In 2003, Joseph Vallario, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, inserted legislation that stripped out a requirement for license applicants to present a valid Social Security number.
  • Motor Vehicle Administration administrator, David Hugel, said that Maryland has decided not to utilize a Homeland Security Department computer program that would permit the state to verify whether someone is legally in the United States.

According to the nonpartisan Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, the security risk posed by the possibility that criminals or terrorists could obtain Maryland driver's licenses is "severe"-- meaning that Maryland falls into the most lax category when it comes to ensuring the integrity of its licenses.

Also, unless the state strengthens its standards to make them compliant with the federal Real ID Act -- requiring Social Security numbers and legal immigration status for all applicants by 2008 -- Marylanders will be unable to use their licenses in order to board an airplane or enter government buildings.

Source: Editorial, "Maryland's amnesty mat," Washington Times, May 30, 2006.


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