As Illinois becomes the fourth and most populous state to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, there are still nagging concerns that the measure doesn’t have enough safeguards to avoid the identity fraud and other pitfalls faced by the three other states with similar laws.
Backers of the proposal, who tout it as a public-safety measure, argue that required facial recognition technology is reliable enough to prevent fraud, but opponents point to hundreds of fraudulent cases in New Mexico, Washington and Utah after those states began giving illegal immigrants permission to drive. Illinois will not require applicants to be fingerprinted, for fear that would discourage immigrants from applying.
“How many people would apply for this document knowing that fingerprints will be going to (federal authorities)? Probably not all that many,” said Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a driving-force behind the measure.
But the other states’ driving programs for illegal immigrants have been abused. New Mexico and Washington both issue licenses, while Utah issues a permit.