The Ongoing Debate Over Driving Privileges for Immigrants

New legislation in Florida is raising a number of questions about immigration policy across the country. Many states, including Texas, are grappling with their own strategies to improve their immigration policies. 

One issue that many of these states are grappling with is how driver’s licenses for documented and undocumented immigrants should be handled. Should undocumented immigrants who are old enough to drive be allowed to take the necessary tests and get a license to drive? 

A state legislature’s answer to that question can greatly affect the lives of immigrants. It can also affect the lives of all motorists, as there are consequences to these laws that go beyond a badge of identification.

Differente States Take Very Different Paths

Minnesota recently passed legislation to allow people to get a driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status. Florida’s new law declares that state officials will no longer recognize driver’s licenses from other states if the driver is an undocumented immigrant. Texas requires people who are applying for a driver’s license to prove that they have lawful status in the United States.

A Simple Issue and a Complicated One

The immigration system is incredibly complex. It’s not unusual for a person to go from being lawfully present in the United States to being unlawfully present without realizing it. Confusion and uncertainty are the norm in many cases. There’s a reason it takes an experienced immigration attorney to handle the many issues that arise under the current legal framework. Immigration is complicated.

Driving safety, however, is not complicated. Most people agree that drivers should be properly trained, and their abilities should be tested to ensure that they’re safe to operate a motor vehicle. It’s an unfortunate reality that complex immigration issues can hinder what should be a universal goal of making sure every driver is qualified for the task of driving safely.

Deported for Driving Without a License

Driving without a license is not a deportable offense, in that your immigration status isn’t changed by it. Removal proceedings are a question of legal status, not traffic laws. 

That said, driving without a license can be what draws the attention of the authorities to a person’s legal status. It’s also true that a criminal conviction of any kind can have an impact on your efforts to gain legal status in the United States.

Get on Top of Your Immigration Situation

Getting legal status will allow you to go through the process of getting a Texas driver’s license. That’s the best way to avoid these unfortunate situations. Dallas immigration attorney Mark E. Jacobs can answer your questions and put you on the right path. Call today at 972-445-7577 or send us an email.

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