Empirical Studies Support Issuance of Driver’s Licenses Without Regard to Immigration Status
Currently, 12 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico issue “marked” licenses to drivers regardless of their immigration status. Proponents of these licenses have received strong support from law enforcement officials, who argue that the licenses promote public safety. The licenses ensure that drivers are trained and tested and able to obtain insurance. Drivers who have licenses are able to identify themselves and are more willing to interact with police and other government agencies. Officers, who won’t need to pursue these residents for driving without a license, can expend their limited resources on other law enforcement priorities. And researchers argue that expanding access to licenses leads to better job matches and improvements to the economy.