Parts of the nation that give unlawful aliens permission to operate a vehicle will stop receiving federal taxpayer money if a new law is passed.
House Republicans’ Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act proposes blocking so-called sanctuary states, which limit cooperation with national authorities, from receiving federal funding if they keep issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens without sufficient proof of presence.
“Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who introduced the legislation, said in a statement.
Under the new rules the Department of Justice would be prohibited from awarding those states any Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which many jurisdictions use as a major source of federal criminal justice funding. The grant provided nearly $53 million to sanctuary states in the 2019 financial year according to Blackburn.
The law will also require unallocated funds to be returned to the department’s program within 30 days, if states either continue to issue driver licenses to illegal aliens or fail to share immigration enforcement information with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS.)
States that fail to meet the criteria will also become ineligible to receive future grants until they comply with the new driver license and federal information sharing provisions.
“While Tennessee and many other states prohibit driver licenses for illegal aliens, a growing number of states are moving in the opposite direction and unleashing dangerous open borders policies,” Blackburn said. “Tennesseans know all too well what can happen when illegal immigrants are granted driver licenses … in America no one is above the law.”
The legislation has already been cosponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)
In the House, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) has introduced companion legislation that has also been cosponsored by 21 other members.
The REAL ID Act was separately passed shortly after terrorists attacked New York City’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorist hijackers allegedly obtained state driver licenses allowing them to board planes and launch deadly attacks.
Less than 20 years later more than 12 states have started limiting eligibility for a driver’s license to improve identification security. Some California state laws and New York’s Green Light Law still allow driver’s licenses to be issued to illegal aliens according to Blackburn.
“Many of these sanctuary states also forbid local authorities from transferring information about potentially dangerous criminal aliens to DHS,” the senator’s office said. “In New York City, a 92-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered by an illegal alien who was released from custody, despite being subject to a federal detainer—due to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s lax sanctuary city policy.”