Photo: Washington State Drivers License
A Bill to restrict the ability of undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses in Washington State was defeated yesterday in the state Senate, the motion failed 23-25.
Washington State is one of two in the country that let illegal immigrants obtain driver’s licenses. New Mexico is the other state that still allows such practice, but lawmakers there are also considering bills to close the access.
The rejected bill would have required applicants for driver’s license to provide proof of residency and a Social Security number. Supporters had said the bill aimed to stop identification fraud.
Opponents, though, had said that it would have led the illegal immigrant community to drive without licenses and car insurance. They also said that the estimated cost of the bill - about $1.5 million in the next two-year budget - is too expensive in a year that the state faces a deficit.
Haugen, who is the chairwoman of the Senate transportation committee, said that for years she had stopped similar bills because she was worried about the impact on the farm industry, which employs a significant number of illegal immigrants using fake identification.