Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.
Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin may soon join Utah as the only states to issue illegal immigrants special cards that allow them to drive but not get other rights that traditional licenses hold.
The plan was included in Wisconsin's state budget approved by a Democratic-controlled committee on Friday. It is subject to approval by the full Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle, perhaps as soon as next week.
Utah is the only state with a two-tiered system like what is being proposed in Wisconsin, according to The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. About 40,000 drivers in Utah have the cards, which were created with that state's program in 2005 as an attempt to end voter fraud among illegal immigrants who were receiving regular licenses.
Tennessee ended a driver certification program after two years in 2006 after federal investigators found that some testing centers were selling driver's licenses and certificates to out-of-state illegal immigrants.
Washington, Illinois and New Mexico are the only states that allow illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses. Maryland used to allow it, but a new ban on such licenses took effect Monday.
In Hawaii, illegal immigrants can get a state ID, but not a driver's license.
The Wisconsin law was modeled after the one in Utah, which has proved successful, said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based group that advocates for immigrants.
"It makes total sense," Neumann-Ortiz said Monday. "First and foremost it's really a public safety issue because it will ensure that more people driving are tested, licensed and insured."