- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2007

ANNAPOLIS — Republican lawmakers have filed several proposals to bar illegal aliens from obtaining driver’s licenses in Maryland in an attempt to make the state compliant with federal law.

Delegate Ronald A. George and Sen. Janet Greenip, both Anne Arundel County Republicans, filed measures in the House and Senate, respectively. Each measure would require anyone applying for a driver’s license to show legal proof of residence in the state.

“We have to be in compliance” with the federal Real ID Act, Mrs. Greenip said. “It’s imperative that we move on this.”

The Real ID Act requires that all states verify proof of residence before issuing driver’s licenses to applicants. Maryland, like all 50 states and the District, must comply with the law by May 2008.

Delegate Patrick L. McDonough, Baltimore County Republican who has sponsored a series of bills dealing with illegal border crossings for the past three legislative sessions, said he plans to introduce similar legislation in the House.

“I think [the] bills are an attempt to get the General Assembly and the governor to stop messing around and comply with the Real ID act,” Mr. McDonough said. “Philosophically, they like illegal aliens.”

Maryland is one of seven states that do not require drivers to provide proof of residence during the license application process, a central tenet of the federal Real ID Act. The Virginia legislature in 2003 enacted a law that requires motorists to prove their legal residency before getting a driver’s license.

Since the November elections, the state legislature has become increasingly “pro-illegal alien,” Mr. McDonough said.

“I call them lawmakers who support lawbreakers,” Mr. McDonough said.

Federal lawmakers passed the Real ID Act in 2005, establishing a de facto national identification card through state driver’s licenses.

Immigration advocates expressed strong opposition to the proposals.

“We think [the legislation] is very harmful to our community because our community needs driver’s licenses to get to work, go to school, get groceries,” said Dario Muralles, a spokesman for Casa of Maryland, an immigration advocacy group.

Barring illegal aliens from obtaining driver’s licenses moved to the front burner for many state lawmakers after an Iraq war veteran was killed in a car accident involving an illegal alien in Howard County on Thanksgiving.

Police arrested Eduardo Raul Morales-Soriano, 25, an illegal alien from Mexico, and charged him with drunken driving, and two counts each of vehicular homicide and manslaughter while intoxicated in the crash that killed Cpl. Brian Mathews of Columbia, Md.

The Motor Vehicle Administration is awaiting Real ID Act guidelines from the federal Department of Homeland Security. But, the agency must wait on action from the legislature and the governor before it requires proof of residency, said Buel Young, an MVA spokesman.

If Maryland does not comply with the Real ID Act, state driver’s licenses would no longer be accepted identification for entrance into federal buildings or flight on airplanes, Mr. Young said.

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