Washington State Takes Baby Step on Illegal Aliens and Driver's Licenses

By David North, November 8, 2010

The State of Washington, one of a handful of states that issues driver's licenses to illegal aliens, took a baby step today to limit – but not eliminate – such issuances.

According to an Associated Press report, Washington, along with New Mexico and Utah, issues licenses to illegal aliens, but starting today Washington State will insist on a proof of in-state residency if the applicant does not provide a "verified" Social Security number (SSN).

Washington State, in other words, has decided that there are good illegals – those that live in, or claim to live in the state – and bad ones, those that live somewhere else. The first class will get licenses, and the second class will not. The proof of residence may be as slender as a "rental agreement," presumably a lease signed by the illegal and his or her landlord – hardly a tough documentary requirement.

The AP article did not amplify the meaning of a "verified SSN"; some illegals, particularly those who have been here a few years, carry genuine SSNs, and others have numbers obtained illicitly that might meet the state's perhaps modest standards.

The decision was announced well below the gubernatorial level, by the state's Licensing Director, Liz Luce.

Two comments: 1) It is good that the Associated Press is continuing to pay attention to this issue. It has run several stories on the subject.

2) In a CIS Memorandum last month I pointed out that Hawaii has such lax standards that its name might be added to the list of states granting illegal aliens driver's licenses. However, given its location, the number of out-of-state illegals taking advantage of the lax Hawaii standards must be limited.

During the recent campaign for governor of New Mexico both candidates said that they would reform the driver's license issuance process. It will be interesting to see what the newly elected GOP nominee, Susana Martinez, who will be the nation's first Latina governor, does with this issue.