In 2009, Maryland legally barred illegal immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses. Now, Maryland lawmakers are fighting to repeal that law in a bill that would allow the same illegal immigrants to get licenses. If the bill passes successfully, Maryland would be included in the few states that allow this: Illinois, Washington, and New Mexico.
Senators that back this bill, including Senator Victor Ramirez, argue that the bill allows illegal immigrants, who would otherwise be forced to drive both unlicensed and uninsured, the ability to drive themselves to and from work and personal obligations. They say that illegal immigrants without licenses are more likely to driver without proper insurance or training, and insured driver’s pay more for their coverage as a result.
Senators that oppose the bill are concerned that it may draw illegal immigrants to Maryland, as New Mexico has noted following the passing of a very similar bill. They say that it offers illegal immigrants a privilege normally afforded only to legal citizens. By offering illegal immigrants this perk, they say, it decreases the incentive to become legal citizens.