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Undocumented Immigrants In D.C. To Get Special Driver's Licenses

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The D.C. Council is backing off its plan to give regular driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Instead, the city will create a two-tier system.

On Tuesday the Council passed a bill creating a second-class license for people who cannot prove their legal status. It will be marked "Not valid for official federal purposes," limiting its use for boarding an airplane or entering a federal building.

The move comes as a blow to immigration advocates and Council members such as Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who said that he worries that the licenses will be used to profile undocumented immigrants.

"I cannot support a license that clearly, clearly indicates that the person holding the license is an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. This is the type of label that is subject to misuse and abuse," he said.

The Council's original plan called for uniform licenses for everyone, regardless of immigration status, and it would have defied a federal law known as the Real ID Act.

At the time Council members said it didn't look like the federal government was serious about enforcing the law. But after meetings with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Council members say it turns out the government is planning on enforcing the law, forcing the Council to rework the bill.

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