Minnesota will begin granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants next month, with the state ensuring that applicant information won’t be revealed to immigration authorities.
“The Driver’s License for All (DL4All) law will allow Minnesotans to begin the process of getting a standard Class D instruction permit or driver’s license or a standard identification card. The law eliminates the need to show proof of legal presence in the United States,” according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) website. The DL4All program will be available starting on Oct. 1.
About 81,000 undocumented immigrants in the state are estimated to be eligible for driver’s licenses under the program.
During a news conference, Jody-Kay Peterson, director of the Minnesota DPS’s Driver Services Program, was asked about the risk of deportation that illegal immigrants would face when they apply for a driver’s license under DL4All.
Ms. Peterson replied that the department won’t submit applicants’ personal information to immigration officials, according to The Associated Press.
DL4All was signed into law by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, in March. Prior to that, Minnesota law had required license applicants to show proof of either citizenship or lawful presence in the United States.
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The 2003 law was enacted to prevent people without a legal status from securing a driver’s license. At the time, then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, cited security concerns following the 9/11 attacks.
Democrats in support of DL4All have insisted that the program will make roads safer as it will mean more vetting for drivers. However, Republicans have warned that the measure could encourage illegal immigration, enable potential terrorists to vote and fly illegally in the country, and also contribute to voter fraud.
When the bill was in the Minnesota Senate, state Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen, a Republican, asked his Democrat colleagues, “What in your bill prevents that terrorist from coming to Minnesota, getting a driver’s license, and getting on an airline and committing a terrorist act?”
Democrats replied that applicants would be required to provide documentation to obtain a driver’s license, which would include showing proof of identity. Mr. Gruenhagen dismissed the explanation, noting that such documents could be forged.
Free Education to Illegal Immigrants
The driver’s license for illegal immigrants is one among many policies that have been pushed by Democrats in Minnesota.
In late May, Mr. Walz signed HF 2073, which allows illegal immigrants to benefit from the state’s education aid program.
The law includes the North Star Promise tuition fee program, which allows eligible students in the state—including illegal immigrants—to qualify for free college tuition, provided that their family annual adjusted gross income is less than $80,000.
North Star Promise will begin in the 2024–25 academic year. It will cost roughly $117 million in the fiscal year starting July 1, then is estimated to cost about $49.5 million each year.
In March, the governor signed the Restore the Vote bill into law, granting convicted felons the right to vote immediately after getting released from incarceration. The move is expected to benefit more than 55,000 convicted felons in the state.
Republicans wanted felons convicted of serious crimes to first finish their probation before regaining the right to vote. However, Democrats pushed for immediate restoration of voting rights upon release.
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.