Thanks to a measure that Martin O’Malley signed into law back in May (but that didn’t go into effect until yesterday), it’s now easier for undocumented immigrants in Maryland to get driver’s licenses.
The new law creates a two-tier system; undocumented immigrants who file tax returns and meet a few other requirements are able to get a second-tier license that allows them to be on the road, but isn’t valid for federal purposes — so it can’t be used to board a plane or enter a federal building, for example. The idea is that if undocumented immigrants are going to be on the road anyway, it’s to everyone’s benefit that they’re insured and have passed the requisite driving tests; opponents claim that the policy rewards those who are in the country illegally. According to the Baltimore Sun, more than 13,000 immigrants have signed up to take driving tests in coming weeks.
Any excitement or outrage about the law is a little manufactured; this policy has already been in effect since 2009.
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