Human Diversity Politics

Not legal? No Mexican driver's license for you

In Mexico, foreigners must prove they are in the country legally before obtaining a driver’s license.

Driver’s licenses for migrants? Not in Mexico

By Chris Hawley

MEXICO CITY – The question of whether to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants ignited a national debate in the United States. But in Mexico, the largest source of U.S. immigrants, there’s no question: Here, you must be a legal resident to get a driver’s license.

All of Mexico’s 31 states, along with Mexico City, require foreigners to present a valid visa if they want a driver’s license, according to a survey of states by The Arizona Republic.

“When it comes to foreigners, we’re a little more strict here,” said Alejandro Ruíz, director of education at the Mexican Automobile Association.

Immigrant drivers zoomed into the national spotlight after presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said a move by the New York governor to give licenses to illegal immigrants “makes a lot of sense” during an Oct. 30 debate.

On Wednesday, Clinton backed off that plan.

Proponents said the plan would have made the roads safer by ensuring that drivers are trained and insured, but the ensuing public outcry forced Gov. Eliot Spitzer to abandon the effort Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., planned to file a bill this week that would bar states from any future attempts to give licenses to illegal immigrants.

Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington allow drivers to get licenses without proving they are legal residents, according to the National Immigration Law Center. Most other states, including Arizona, require applicants to prove they are citizens or legal residents. (…Full Article)
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