Today, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Representative Ken Buck (R-Col.) introduced the Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act. This legislation would restrict Department of Justice grant funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program for states that grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants or fail to share information about criminal aliens with the Federal Government.
Currently, 13 states grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants while also denying federal immigration officials access to DMV data. These ill-advised policies erode the rule of law and hurt average Americans like Sean Buchanan. Last year, Mr. Buchanan, a father of five, was killed by an illegal immigrant whose Colorado-issued driver’s license had been revoked for a DUI conviction. Furthermore, a federal immigration judge had previously issued a removal order for the illegal immigrant. If Colorado had never issued a driver’s license to an illegal immigrant in the first place and had complied with the removal order, Sean Buchanan would be alive today. Colorado’s sanctuary policy is dangerous to Coloradans and other Americans.
According to a report by the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky and Cully Stimson:
A driver’s license gives the alien the ability to travel freely throughout the country and is used for countless other purposes, including registering to vote and applying for government benefits, as well as establishing bank and credit card accounts. As one critic has said, it provides illegal aliens with the appearance of “legality, giving the alien access to goods and services he would otherwise be unable to use.” And it “defies common sense to contend that the best way to combat accidents by illegal aliens is to give them all drivers’ licenses…to prevent crashes by unlicensed drivers, that state should discourage them from driving in the first place.”
Members of Congress who respect the rule of law and our nation’s sovereignty must take action to prevent further tragedies from occurring as a result of these misguided policies. As Heritage Action’s polling data shows, Americans identify immigration as the single most important issue facing the country, and 54% of Americans believe that illegal immigration directly affects their lives. Additionally, Americans say that overuse of social services is the greatest challenge illegal immigrants pose to the nation.
States’ sanctuary policies only serve to reward illegal immigrants, endanger Americans, and threaten our social services. Now is the time to act, and Heritage Action encourages all Members to co-sponsor and support the Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act.