Due to heavy demand from undocumented aliens that they should be issued driver's licenses (some legal experts concur that people who are in the country illegally should be issued permits to drive so that they will then buy auto insurance, learn to drive safely, and will also be able to use the licenses as proof of identity to access services like libraries), many states are already issuing licenses (e.g. California) or will do so in the future. It is only a matter of time that all 50 states will issue licenses to everyone who is the US illegally even if the so called comprehensive immigration reform does not pass. A lot of you have written wondering if you should apply for these licenses and what are the risks and benefits. Many of you are afraid that the information you provide will be used to catch and deport you.
So should you get these licenses? Well, the benefits of getting these licenses clearly outweigh the risks. Having a driver's license not only allows you to legally drive a vehicle, it is pretty much the most widely accepted identification document in the country. You can buy alcohol in a bar or restaurant or shop, enter a nightclub, board a plane, use services in your town, open a bank account, check into a hotel, and present it anywhere someone requests proof of your identity. It will make your life extremely easy.
What are the downsides? Well, for understandable reasons, the license will be somewhat different than those issued to legal residents and citizens. While the guy at the local bar may not even know what that means or care about it, but law enforcement agents will definitely know that you are illegally in the United States, because otherwise you would have a standard license. So if you do get stopped by a cop and you present this ID, the policeman will know that you are an illegal alien, but it is much better than presenting no license while driving and getting ticketed for it. And many of you who worry that this license will make it easy for ICE to catch and deport you, look, if DHS wants to catch and deport you they don't need to give you a license first. They can find anyone they want and deport them. The fact is that the United States wants to make it easy for undocumented aliens to live and work here, and this is one way to do that. Yes, you will voluntarily provide your information that will be stored in a government database that can be used for any purpose whatsoever, but that is what everyone else does. And if you want to live here, you will have to abide by the rules and laws of this country. If you want privileges and rights (to drive a vehicle, for instance, which is not a right), you must abide by the laws of this country.