The governor and attorney general races in Washington state are sparking renewed attention toward whether undocumented immigrants in the Evergreen State should be granted driver's licenses, the Associated Press has reported.
In 2011, state legislators drafted a series of bills aimed at curbing illegal immigration, including one that prevents people in the United States without proper documentation from acquiring a driver's license, a proposal that was defeated in the state Senate.
The bill would have created a two-tiered system, one that provides full credentials to citizens, and another with limits for undocumented immigrants. In the latter case, immigrants would be unable to use that identification to open a bank account or board a plane.
Washington, New Mexico, and Utah are the only states that still allow undocumented residents to drive legally. Utah, however, has a "Driving Privilege Card," which restricts motorists from using it as a form of ID, according to the AP story. Washington would follow that model.
Driver's licenses can be used for everything from cashing a check to renting an apartment, giving people the ability to live and work in the state more freely. To some critics, they create the semblance of a perk for undocumented immigrants.