A year ago, Washington was one of just three states granting driver’s licenses to any person living in the U.S. illegally—holding firm against a nationwide trend.
But quietly across the country this year, a curious thing has been happening: A growing number of states are reversing course and seven have now joined Washington and the others.
In recent months, all but two states have tweaked their policies to give driver’s licenses to tens of thousands of young people who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children and granted reprieve from deportation and permission to work.
On top of that, measures to allow driver’s licenses or driving-privilege cards to millions of undocumented immigrants were introduced in about 18 states this year. While most are pending, seven bills have been enacted into law, to become effective over the next two years or so.
Among the seven states is neighboring Oregon, where Gov. John Kitzhaber on May Day this year signed legislation to allow state residents in the country unlawfully to be allowed to legally drive, reversing an action his predecessor took six years earlier.
Craig Keller heads up a group called Respect Washington, which for years has tried but failed to collect enough signatures for an initiative to deny certain benefits, including driver’s licenses, to those in the country illegally.
He’s collecting signatures for another initiative this year as well as for a referendum to help repeal the Oregon law.
“There is no doubt America and many states are now under attack by those who wish to amnesty and legitimize millions of illegal alien lawbreakers,” Keller said. “Loosening of driver’s license standards is just one prong in this attack.”