Status of the Illegal Immigrants Right to Obtain a License in Maryland

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As of June 1, 2009, drivers who cannot prove their lawful status in the United States will no longer be able to get a Maryland drivers license. Maryland had been one of just four states that granted driver's licenses to illegal immigrants (the others are Washington, New Mexico and Hawaii). It is no longer. Law makers made the change out of concern that the state would lose federal funding by not complying with the Federal Security Act, known as Real ID.

Law makers did reach a compromise which will benefit some illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants who already have a license may renew. The licenses will be marked "not acceptable for federal purposes", meaning they cannot be used to board airplanes. This compromise still leaves Maryland in the minority among states on this issue. Additionally, Maryland allows illegal immigrants with a tax id to apply for a "driving privilege card". This is not accepted federally.

This change will impact illegal immigrants charged criminally with driving without a license. Previously, many jurisdictions in Maryland were willing to dismiss the charge if a meeting was scheduled with MVA. Since no more meetings can be scheduled these cases will no longer end in a simple dismissal. An attorney should be consulted since jail time is now a consideration in these criminal cases.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan Portner published on June 19, 2009 12:11 PM.

Information on Release from Detention was the previous entry in this blog.

K Visas: Shortening the Waiting Period for Spouses of American Citizens is the next entry in this blog.

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