Starting Monday, June 20, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will begin issuing newly designed driver’s licenses and identification cards, meant to guard against counterfeiting, identity fraud, and identity theft in the state. The MVA reports that the cards will be created out of a stronger, more durable material that is resistant to tampering. The new cards will also have laser engraving to make it harder for forgers to replicate the cards. Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn called the new cards “the most secure license and ID in the nation, with cutting-edge security features that will safeguard … personal information.”
State officials, however, made no mention of any effort to repeal the state law passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2013, which allows illegal aliens residing in the state to receive driver’s licenses. Under this law, any applicant who can provide evidence of residency in Maryland and who has filed a Maryland state income tax return for the previous two years is eligible to receive a Maryland driver’s license or identification card.
These requirements do little to verify that the applicant is who they claim to be. Often, aliens who are not authorized to work in the United States use aliases and stolen social security numbers to work illegally and file tax returns. Indeed, even when the IRS uncovers evidence that a tax return has been filed fraudulently with a stolen identity, the government takes no action to notify law enforcement, the victim, or the employer of the crime. Additionally, the Maryland MVA accepts a variety of insecure documents, including foreign consular ID cards, in order to satisfy the proof of identity requirement for applicants who are not residing in the country legally. Thus, by merely providing Maryland residents with hi-tech cards, the state is doing little to prevent identity theft and identity fraud in the state.
Marylanders concerned about the security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards should petition their representatives in the Maryland General Assembly to repeal the 2013 law and require driver’s license or identification card applicants to prove citizenship or lawful status and prove identity using secure and verifiable identification documents.