RIC is passionately committed to making sure our communities and our country welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters with dignity and respect.
The Problem: In 2005 the U.S. Congress passed the Real ID Act, requiring all states to turn driver’s licenses into a federal identification card. The Real ID Act took effect in Wisconsin on April 1, 2007. Because driver’s licenses are now federal identifications, they require social security numbers. Therefore, people who are undocumented are no longer able to obtain a driver license or have any other legal way to drive a car or purchase car insurance.
The Solution: Alternative Driver’s License for Undocumented Wisconsinites. The federal Real ID Act allows individual states to create an alternative driver’s license for undocumented people. An alternative driver’s license would allow for the ability to drive legally. These alternative driver’s licenses cannot be used for official federal purposes such as voting, passports, etc. An alternative driver’s license is not a driver's license, but it would positively identify the cardholder, ensure that driver education and tests were successfully completed, and allow a legal way for people without documents to drive to work, school, church, and shopping. It would also allow for affordable car insurance.
Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Wisconsinites will:
● Drive the Economy
The Department of Transportation estimates that extending eligibility for alternative driver’s licenses and identification cards to people without documents would increase revenues by $2.9 million in the first full year of implementation. Insurance and automotive industries have lost the business of thousands of immigrants who no longer have licenses, and the state DMV has lost the financial contribution of people who are now denied access to its services.
● Drive Public Safety
Licensing drivers based on their ability to drive improves public safety. An alternative driver’s license would assure immigrants access to proper road safety, driving test, and automotive insurance. This results in safer roads and lower costs for insured drivers.
The current climate of fear caused by lack of legal ability to drive erodes trust in local law enforcement and prevents many immigrants from reporting if they are victims or witnesses to crimes, or participating in investigations. Law enforcement remains steadfast in its support for Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Wisconsinites because it would positively identify drivers on the street, allow law enforcement to focus on more important public safety matters, and create better relations with residents in the community.
● Drive Out of the Shadows
Immigrants make countless positive contributions to Wisconsin communities, schools, churches, economy, and culture. Undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin paid an estimated $156.9 million in federal taxes and $101.1 million in state and local taxes in 2018 (American Immigration Council).