The Virginia legislature on Tuesday approved two different bills that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in the state.
Both chambers of the legislature passed separate immigrant driver’s license bills on Tuesday along party lines on the final day of the state’s so called “crossover” period, during which the Senate and House can approve legislation pass by the other chamber. The Senate’s version allows for illegal immigrants to obtain a license if they can prove they’ve filed an income tax return, but the license would not be valid for use in elections. The version approved by the House applies fewer restrictions.
Democrats took control of the Virginia legislature in 2019 for the first time since 1992, and have introduced a flurry of legislation generally stymied by Republicans, including sweeping gun control measures and relaxation of abortion restrictions. The effort to extend driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants follows similar legislation in 14 other states, including New York.
New York’s legislation not only allows illegal immigrants to obtain licenses, but also attempts to block the Department of Homeland Security from viewing state DMV records in order to ameliorate immigrants’ fears that applying for a license might lead to deportation. In early February, DHS announced it would ban New Yorkers from applying to Trusted Traveler Programs due to the state’s adoption of the law.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, announced on Wednesday that he had spoken with DHS secretary Chad Wolf and agreed to allow the DHS partial access to the state’s DMV records. Cuomo said he plans to meet with President Trump on Thursday to discuss the issue.