The Virginia Senate Transportation Committee killed a bill last Wednesday that would have allowed illegal aliens living in the state to receive driver’s licenses. Senate Bill 1345 (S.B. 1345), introduced by Senator Scott Surovell (D-36), would have allowed illegal aliens to receive “driver’s privilege cards” so long as the individual filed an individual tax return with the Commonwealth within the preceding year and meets all insurance requirements. Senator Surovell referred to the measure as “licenaias para todos legislation.”
Opponents raised concerns that S.B. 1345 would increase security risks, as driving privilege cards may be mistaken as a valid form of identification. A “driving privilege card” does not meet requirements set by federal law under the REAL ID Act to be used for federal identification purposes, which include boarding an aircraft or entering a federal building. Under this measure, a “driving privilege card” differs from a standard Virginia driver’s license because the card could only be accepted for driving purposes.
The Committee voted party lines, 7-6, to defeat the measure. “We have a primary obligation for that primary document to do the verification that would be required for a driver’s license or an identification card,” commented Senator Steve Newman (R-23) who, voted against S.B .1345. “We heard from our State Police that is not doable, and it’s certainly not doable under this bill,” he added.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart also opposed the measure. “Why should we issue a legal ID to someone who is here illegally? It’s wrong,” said Chairman Stewart. “The state should not be complicit in helping people who are here illegally and breaking U.S. law,” he added.
House Bill 1682, a similar bill, is currently being considered in the General Assembly. Following S.B. 1345’s defeat, however, the legislature is unlikely to move forward this session with another bill granting illegal aliens with driver’s licenses.