- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2003

A Maryland legislator said yesterday he will propose a bill allowing only persons legally in the United States to receive state driver’s licenses.

Delegate Herbert H. McMillan, Anne Arundel Republican, said the bill will clearly state “you have to be a legal resident of the United States.”

Mr. McMillan’s proposed bill is in response to a legal opinion by state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. earlier this week that instructed the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to issue drivers licenses to aliens, even if they cannot “prove lawful presence” in the United States. He also said the MVA may use immigration documents to verify identity “when other satisfactory identification is unavailable.”

“Frankly, [Mr. Curran] closes the door, then opens it,” Mr. McMillan said. “Let’s close the loophole.”

MVA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said Mr. Curran’s opinion supports the processes and procedures already in place at the agency, which accepts passports, visas and other immigration documents if the applicant has no U.S. birth certificate.

Mr. Curran’s written opinion follows efforts by Delegate Ana S. Gutierrez to give illegal aliens more access to driver’s licenses. Miss Gutierrez, Montgomery County Democrat, has been appointed to a task force to study the issue.

She had no specific comment yesterday about Mr. McMillan’s proposed bill, except that “I think delegates have a perfect right to introduce whatever legislation they feel is necessary.”

Mr. McMillan said he proposed the legislation because “it has become apparent from some of the rhetoric that they are going to look for a left-wing judge and try to obtain through the courts what they could not obtain in the legislature.”

“So I am going to … make it crystal clear,” he said.

He also said giving illegal aliens the same benefits as legal residents “defiles common sense and simple justice.”

“State policies and laws must reward those who follow the law, not those who break it,” he said. “Any standard less than this … weakens the confidence and respect our citizens have in government.”

Mr. McMillan pointed out that the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recently changed its laws after it was shown that seven of the September 11 hijackers obtained licenses from the commonwealth. Other states also enacted similar laws after the terrorist attacks to stop illegal immigrants from legally obtaining driver’s licenses.

“I think people should see which one of their representatives wants to give illegal aliens driver’s licenses and which one of their representatives is simply rewarding bad behavior,” Mr. McMillan said.

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