States begin giving driver’s licenses to young immigrants
WASHINGTON — Only three states let illegal immigrants drive, but the Obama administration’s decision to stop deporting some undocumented students, veterans, and recent high school and college graduates will give them driving privileges in more than a dozen additional states.
Most of the states did nothing on their own to grant the immigrants driving privileges — California is the only one that changed its laws to explicitly permit the expansion. On the contrary, officials in a handful of the affected states have scrambled to block the licenses from being issued, prompting a political backlash in Michigan and yet another immigration-related lawsuit in Arizona.
The practice of granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants has become rare in recent years, and the issue had dropped off most legislative agendas before the federal action thrust it into states’ laps once again. And it is re-emerging as states close in on a Jan. 15 deadline to comply with Real ID, a federal law signed by President George W. Bush that was aimed at tightening license restrictions.
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