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March 31, 2009

Immigrant driver's license update

The House and Senate appear to be on a definite collision course over how to handle driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Julie Bykowicz reports that last night the Senate passed its version of a bill designed to make Maryland compliant with the federal Real ID act. That bill would require everyone to prove legal residency in the U.S. when getting a new license or renewing one. (That means, presumably, that you wouldn't be able to renew by mail or on-line, at least the first time.)

The House, however, gave final approval last night to a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants who now have licenses to keep driving. If they renew without proving their legal status, they would be given licenses labeled "not federally compliant."

House leaders believe their version would comply with Real ID just as well as the Senate version (more on this below), but the issue here is that Maryland would definitely not be compliant if it does nothing, and there appears to be a real chance that the two chambers will deadlock in the last couple of weeks of the session. Senate President Mike Miller said yesterday that the House plan "rewards criminal conduct," which doesn't sound to me like compromise is in the works.

In other news on the topic, I got an e-mail yesterday from an attorney with the ACLU providing further analysis of the situation (and taking exception to my previous post on the subject) which I'll paste below the jump.

Dear Mr. Green,

My name is Ajmel Quereshi and I am an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and Director of its Immigrants Rights Project. I write in response to your blog post this morning entitled “Here’s Why REAL ID Affects You.” For your information, I would like to provide some clarification regarding a couple of points in your post. I would be happy to discuss these further if you would like.

First, the REAL ID Act of 2005 explicitly provides that a state may, in addition to any compliant REAL ID cards it issues, issue separate non-compliant cards which do not meet REAL ID’s requirements, including lawful presence. See REAL ID Act of 2005, 202(d)(11), Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 315. Section 202 however provides that these cards must clearly state that they cannot be used for federal identification purposes and be marked with insignia differentiating them from compliant cards. Id. House Bill 387 provides that any cards given to persons without lawful status meet these requirements. See HB 387, page 16, lines 13-23. Accordingly, your implication that Maryland, by giving cards to persons without lawful status, would contravene REAL ID’s requirements fails to account for these sections.

Second, in addition, we also question the likelihood that the federal government will actually bar Maryland residents from air travel. This argument discounts the significant opposition to REAL ID nationwide. Eleven states have passed legislation prohibiting implementation of REAL ID. Furthermore, eight additional states have passed legislation denouncing REAL ID. Likewise, many of the states’ criticisms have been voiced by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. As governor, she vowed not to comply with the Act, and in June of 2008, she signed a law forbidding her state from cooperating. Matthew Benson, Napolitano: Real ID a No-Go in Arizona, Ariz. Repub., June 18, 2008. While she was chairwoman of the National Governors Association, the organization denounced Real ID, describing it as an unfunded mandate that states could not afford. National Governors Association et al., The Real ID Act: National Impact Analysis (2006). Since becoming Secretary, she has explained that she wants to explore “realistic options” for changes to identification, but not necessarily “under the rubric of REAL ID.” Audrey Hudson, Napolitano Debates Real ID: Will Examine Alternatives to Driver’s Licenses, Wash. Times, Feb. 20, 2009.

Thank you in advance for your attention to these points.


Ajmel Quereshi

Posted by Andy Green at 10:33 AM | | Comments (3)


Annapolis Update # 7 - ALERT - Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens - March 30, 2009

House Bill 387 - Vehicle Laws - Lawful Status in the United States - Material Compliance with Federal Requirements

I thought Annapolis had hit its all-time low for passing the death penalty bill, but unfortunately on Friday night they managed to break their own record. A bill sponsored by Delegate Ron George of Anne Arundel Co. and Delegate Jim Malone of Baltimore Co., with over 60 other sponsors, was intended to bring Maryland into compliance with the Real ID Act and to prevent illegal aliens from receiving driver’s licenses. What’s wrong with that, you ask. Well, the Judiciary Committee, whom we refer to as “lawmakers for lawbreakers” and the “criminal advocate society” amended the bill from its original purpose and created a bill guaranteeing that illegal aliens will receive driver’s licenses, along with the right to vote.

The debate on the House floor went on for hours. The lies from the proponents were outrageous and would not be believed by anyone with the slightest common sense. This went on under the watchful eye of Ms. Kim Propeack of Casa de Maryland, which has close ties to Pres. Victor Chavez of Venezuela. She sat alone in the balcony like a puppet master pulling the strings of the House. It was like a scene from Dante’s Inferno.

I took a very active role in the debate, offering an amendment stripping the ability of illegals to register to vote or to use the driver’s license crafted for illegals as a document to register to vote. These amendments were rejected by the Democrat floor leader Del. Dumais of Montgomery County, and her efforts were assisted by Del. Barve, the House Majority Leader, arguing that, while illegal aliens do not have the right to vote, the State does not have the right to prevent them from registering to vote.

These are the insane times we live in. After each major conflict that our country has faced in the past 100 years, such as World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, illegal aliens have been deported to create jobs for our returning soldiers. Now, our soldiers are returning home from Iraq and Kuwait to a high unemployment rate and are having difficulty finding jobs to return to their former way of life. Del. Curt Anderson, along with other supporters of illegal aliens, are more concerned with illegals having jobs and the ability to get to work.

Had this debate been televised, those supporters of illegal aliens would never be able to return to their districts or be re-elected. More than sixty members of the House had to have their names removed from the bill, along with the two lead sponsors. We believe the bill will be back on the floor tonight for a final vote (third reading). IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME TO COME TO ANNAPOLIS TO SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE, NOW IS THE TIME!

Rick Impallaria
Delegate, District 7 (Baltimore & Harford Counties)

Want to highlight this line from MOCO legislooters!

"These amendments were rejected by the Democrat floor leader Del. Dumais of Montgomery County, and her efforts were assisted by Del. Barve, the House Majority Leader, arguing that,

while illegal aliens do not have the right to vote, the State does not have the right to prevent them from registering to vote."

Hey Andy.
Why is CASA is powerful in this state?
Or does the Democratic leadership in this state see them as new Democrats?
I do not understand how any illegals has any rights.
It boggles the mind.
Our immigration laws are a joke-yes no doubts.
But why is Annapolis kowtowing to Casa?
What do they have on Annapolis?
And why is MOM is silent on this issue?
Come on Marty speak up.
Only in Annapolis!

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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