Bicameral Legislation Introduced to Stop Greenlighting Drivers’ Licenses for Illegal Aliens
By Heather Ham-Warren | FAIR Take | February 2020
On Wednesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced legislation that would block grant funding from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to local law enforcement in sanctuary states with policies that permit illegal aliens to obtain drivers’ licenses.
Currently, fourteen states and the District of Colombia have implemented green light laws, which award drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens. The Stop Greenlighting Drivers’ Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act would prohibit these jurisdictions from receiving federal funds issued through the DOJ’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance.
When introducing the bill, Senator Blackburn stated, “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. Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license. In America, no one is above the law.”
Representative Buck also released a statement. “Just last year in my home state of Colorado, Sean Buchanan, a loving father of five, was struck and killed by Miguel Ramirez Valiente, an illegal immigrant... Ramirez Valiente should have been deported after a DUI conviction, but because of Colorado’s sanctuary laws, officials provided him sanctuary and shielded him from deportation. Sean’s tragedy was completely preventable. Congress cannot stand by and let another family go through a tragic loss like the Buchanans did.”
Green light laws garnered the attention of the Trump Administration in recent months. In December 2019, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf issued an agency-wide memo stating that “[d]ue to the enactment of state laws that directly impact the ability of states to cooperate with law enforcement, and DHS in particular, it is necessary for a department-wide assessment of the impacts that these laws create and the potential solutions to mitigate any impacts." He then ordered a department-wide “operational assessment” of state laws that authorize drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens. The assessment will examine how these laws “affect [DHS] enforcement efforts for both immigration and other investigations into human trafficking, drug smuggling and counterterrorism.”
The Stop Greenlighting Drivers’ Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act is currently cosponsored by seven Senators and over twenty Representatives.
To show your support for this legislation call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your congresspersons.