Ten states and the District of Columbia issue driver’s licenses or similar certifications to illegal immigrants, according to a new analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
In a report issued this week, Pew Charitable Trusts reveals that as of this summer California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington and the District of Columbia all issue driver’s licenses or similar certification to illegal immigrants.
Nearly 37 percent of the illegal immigrant population live in the 11 jurisdictions that offer driver’s licenses, or about 4.1 million illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, Delaware and Hawaii both adopted new laws this year that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, however, to date, neither state has started issuing them.
According to Pew, five of the 11 jurisdictions that currently offer illegal immigrants driver’s licenses have a greater percentage of illegal immigrants than the national average of 3.5 percent — namely California (6.3 percent), Illinois (3.7 percent), Maryland (4.3 percent), Nevada (7.6 percent), and Utah (3.6 percent).
The states have authority over the regulation of driver’s licenses. Pew’s report looked at the experiences states have had in extending driving certification to illegal immigrants, examining states’ methods for estimating demand and cost, determining eligibility, setting insurance procedures, and providing outreach.
The implementation also resulted in new personnel needs for states, a requirement that the report noted represented states’ largest expected cost. California projected a need for 822 new limited-term positions, Illinois hired 100 more people, Connecticut made plans for 18 hires, Maryland 55 hires, Colorado over 17 hires, the District of Columbia three hires, and Nevada expected 14 more employees.
States largely projected overall cost based on estimated participants and expected new staff.
“California’s fiscal summary estimated costs of approximately $140 million to $220 million and application fee revenue of approximately $50 million over three years,” the report read, for example. “That assumed 1.4 million unauthorized immigrants would apply for driver’s licenses over a three-year period. The state’s 2014-15 budget allocated $67.4 million to issue licenses to unauthorized immigrants and included a mechanism for increasing funding if the number of applicants proved unexpectedly high.”
Despite the steps some states have taken, polls have indicated that a majority of Americans oppose granting illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. An April YouGov/Huffington Post poll, for example found that 64 percent of Americans opposed allowing illegal immigrants to obtain rivers licenses in their state.