U.S. House passes bill to bar driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

| 2/11/2005

A bill that would bar states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants has passed the U.S. House and is on its way to the Senate.

The measure – H.R. 418 – is called the Real ID Act. Introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, it would prevent states from issuing licenses unless the license contained specific information – such as the person’s full legal name, date of birth, gender, a digital photo and other required elements. And it would disallow anyone from receiving a license if they could not prove they were in the country legally.

Applicants would have to prove they are a citizen; a legal alien; a person with a green card, indicating legal permanent status; a person granted asylum; a refugee; or some other status that indicated they were legally here.

The bill also contains other measures, including a section designed “to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States,” and another that would make it easier for the federal government to complete border fences and other barriers, such as one near San Diego.

The Feb. 10 House vote was 261-161 in favor of the bill.

H.R. 418 has the support of both the White House and the Republican leadership in Congress, The Los Angeles Times reported.