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License Proposals For Undocumented Immigrants Before D.C. Council

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One proposal before the Council would give a second-class license to illegal immigrants, another a full license.
Adam Fagen (http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/5095526890/)
One proposal before the Council would give a second-class license to illegal immigrants, another a full license.

D.C. is considering different ways to give driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. At a hearing today at city hall, council members looked at how to give licenses or ID cards to residents — regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.

One option is a second-class license for undocumented immigrants. It would not be valid for federal purposes like boarding an airplane, but it would comply with a new federal law known as the Real ID act.

But some advocates for D.C.'s immigrant community oppose this approach because they fear differently-marked licenses could lead to profiling. They want one license for everyone, which is another option before the council. 

"For me it's about safety," says Council member David Grosso. "It's about making sure people are trained to drive properly. That they know the rules of the road."

Both bills face opposition. Brad Botwin is with Help Save Maryland, a group opposed to illegal immigration.   

"I've heard the arguments this morning that they need the licenses so they can drive to work," Botwin says. "Work? They shouldn't be working."

The council will continue to look at the issue before crafting a final bill.

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