Del. Panel: Undocumented Immigrants Should Have Driving Privileg - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Panel: Undocumented Immigrants Should Have Driving Privilege Cards

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DOVER, Del. - Undocumented immigrants in Delaware should have driving privileges - that was the recommendation released this week from a legislative task force that spent months examining the idea for The First State.

Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, chaired the task force.

"The driving privilege card would show that you're driving legally. But it could not be used for any other legal form of identification," he said.

Getting a card would require passing a written test, an eye test, a road test and showing two years of tax returns. Sen. Townsend says once someone has a card, they could likely get insurance.

"Insurance companies will say, 'They're driving lawfully. We'll go ahead and issue them insurance.'"

There was support for driving privilege cards at last month's Delaware Latino Summit in Dover.

"We think we can garner the support of politicians," said Javier Torrijos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. "We feel it's extremely important."

But Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, who was on the task force, too, says the proposal is too costly, and Delaware should wait - especially considering President Obama's recent executive order on immigrants.

"Once they go through the federal process, get the proper paperwork from the federal government, they'll be able to take that paperwork into the Division of Motor Vehicles and get the standard, full drivers license from the state of Delaware," said Sen. Pettyjohn.

Beyond that, he's hearing a consistent message from his constituents - they don't approve of this.

"People are concerned that giving people who are here illegally a privilege that is enjoyed by people who are here legally is somehow justifying their presence in the United States."

Sen. Townsend says this task force wasn't about solving the broader immigration debate but about things like insurance issues.

"Everybody benefits if we have safer roadways and we have a broader insurance pool that reflects the risk of the roadways," he said.

There are still questions about how the program would actually work, like if applicants should have to submit to fingerprinting and background checks.

The process of finalizing a bill is on-going. But introduction to the general assembly is expected in early 2015.

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