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Rounds, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

02.12.20

WASHINGTON– U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today joined Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to introduce the Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act, which halts certain Department of Justice grant funding to states that defy certain federal immigration laws.

“We are a nation of laws,” said Rounds. “If state and local governments fail to uphold our laws that seek to stop dangerous criminals and keep families safe, there should be consequences. These laws are on the books to improve public safety and strengthen national security. I support withholding access to certain federal grants if states don’t comply with these federal statutes.”

BACKGROUND

The Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act blocks certain federal funds to sanctuary states, including states that defy federal immigration enforcement or that allow illegal aliens to get driver licenses without proof of lawful presence. Non-complying states will no longer enjoy access to millions of dollars in funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The JAG program provides substantial support on a yearly basis to states for local law enforcement and criminal justice initiatives. In FY 2019, states that issued driver licenses to illegal immigrants received nearly $53 million from this program. This law will require states that issue driver licenses to illegal aliens or states that fail to share immigration enforcement information with the DHS to return unallocated funds to the JAG program within 30 days. Further, these states will be ineligible to receive future JAG funds until they comply with the driver license and federal information sharing provisions.

The REAL ID Act was passed in the wake of 9/11, after the terrorist hijackers easily obtained state driver licenses allowing them to board planes to launch their deadly attacks. Now, less than 20 years later, over a dozen states are already working to reverse efforts to preserve identification security. Some state laws, like California’s law and New York’s Green Light Law, go further than providing driver licenses to illegal aliens. Many of these sanctuary states also forbid local authorities from transferring information about potentially dangerous criminal aliens to DHS. Just last month, in New York City, a 92-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered by an illegal alien who was released from custody, despite being subject to a federal detainer—due to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s lax sanctuary city policy.

The bill text is available here.

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