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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Recently Minnesota House Democrats approved legislation on the House floor that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain the same driver’s license that Minnesota’s residents receive if they choose not to apply for a Real ID or enhanced driver’s license.


The crux of this bill revolves around driving privileges for those who do not have permission to be in this country or state. These privileges are not guaranteed to all nor granted for any arbitrary reason. 


In committee we heard from virtually all testifiers that all undocumented workers want is to get driving privileges and insurance, and that none want to use the license to vote or to acquire other state benefits. In our attempt to make this clear, we attempted to make those clarifications on this license, including adding “not for voting purposes” on the card, but all attempts were voted down by House Democrats. 


Over the last few decades, driver’s licenses have been used for many different situations to provide identity, including opening a bank account.  By approving a bill that allows undocumented immigrants to carry something that looks like a driver’s license that’s possessed by a legal Minnesota citizen, we are flirting with the kind of election abuse and welfare abuse that has been in the headlines over the past few years.


Most problematic is the likelihood of election fraud. In order to participate in same day registration in Minnesota, you need to provide a form of identification. One of those options is a driver’s license that will look exactly like the version undocumented immigrants will receive.


Again, when you refuse to implement safeguards to prevent fraud, specifically election fraud, you are opening up this State for potential abuse and fraud.


There are other problems as well, such as issuing a driver’s license to applicants who do not provide legal status or a Social Security number; not allowing a person to be arrested for possession of a fraudulent noncompliant Class D driver’s license; adding to the backlog of driver’s exams and testing; and increasing the potential abuse of other state government programs. 


Obtaining a driver’s license is not a fundamental human right. It is a privilege, and because it’s a privilege we are allowed to place restrictions on them. Unfortunately, Democrats feel differently and were not interested in eliminating any potential of fraud and abuse that is clearly evident by giving undocumented immigrants, who are actually still citizens of another country, the exact driver’s license used by Minnesota citizens.