Try our quiz and learn more about the states that issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants.
Some states have decided to allow unauthorized immigrants—those who do not have explicit permission from the U.S. government to reside in the country—to obtain driver’s licenses (also known by other names, such as driving privilege cards). Take our quiz and test your knowledge about this dynamic immigration policy issue. Answers are current as of March 2016.
? How many states issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants?
+ 12 plus the District of Columbia
/ Explanation: In addition to the District, the following states issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. Most began issuing these licenses in the past three years.
? How many unauthorized immigrants, as a share of the total unauthorized population in the U.S., live where they can get a driver’s license?
/ Explanation: Slightly more than 37 percent of unauthorized immigrants live either in the District of Columbia or in the 12 states that currently make licenses available to them. The largest group of unauthorized immigrants—an estimated 2.45 million people—lives in California.
? Which two states passed laws in 2015 that allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses?
- California and Connecticut
- Illinois and Vermont
- Colorado and Washington
+ Delaware and Hawaii
/ Explanation: Delaware and Hawaii passed their laws in 2015. Delaware and began issuing licenses in December 2015, and Hawaii in January 2016.
? True or false: States that comply with the REAL ID Act can issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants as long as the licenses are distinctive from regular licenses.
/ Explanation: The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 expressly authorizes states that comply with it to provide alternative driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants. The law requires that those licenses be distinct from regular ones in specific ways, such as having a unique color or design and clearly stating on their face that they are not accepted for federal identification or other official purposes.
? True or false: Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are eligible to receive a standard driver’s license in all states.
/ Explanation: DACA recipients may receive work authorization documents and a Social Security number. In all states, they can obtain a regular driver’s license with these documents. A 2014 survey from the American Immigration Council found that 57 percent of DACA recipients had received driver’s licenses.
? Which of the states that issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants estimated that more than 1 million people would apply?
/ Explanation: With 22 percent of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants living within its borders, California estimated that 1.4 million people would apply over a three-year period—the most in the nation.
- New Mexico
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