State Headliners: Vermont has been issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants since 2014

By Guy Page

When Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York signed legislation on June 17 granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, some Vermonters wondered if Vermont would follow suit. In fact, illegal immigrants have been driving legally in Vermont since Jan. 1, 2014.

RELATED SERIES: Driver’s licenses for illegals in Vermont

Act 74, AKA the “Freedom of Movement” bill signed into law June 5, 2013, establishes that “a citizen of a foreign country unable to establish legal presence in the United States who furnishes reliable proof of Vermont residence and of name, date of birth, and place of birth, and who satisfies all other requirements of this chapter for obtaining a license or permit, shall be eligible to obtain an operator’s privilege card, a junior operator’s privilege card, or a learner’s privilege card.” The applicant must furnish “reliable proof of Vermont residence and of name, date of birth, place of birth and satisfies all other requirements for obtaining a license or permit.”

Vermont DMV

Driver’s privilege cards, top, look nearly identical to Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses, bottom. Illegal immigrants in Vermont are eligible to obtain driver’s privilege cards only.

Act 74 was sponsored by Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, and co-sponsored by Sens. Timothy Ashe, Claire Ayer, Ann Cummings, Sally Fox, Virginia Lyons, Richard McCormack, Anthony Pollina, Jeanette White, and David Zuckerman. It passed 105-39 in the House.

As the furor over the New York law shows, issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants is not without controversy. A similar law also passed in 2013 in “blue” state Oregon was repealed in 2014 by voter referendum. In 2015 the Vermont Human Rights Commission found that the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles had reported some a Jordanian national as a suspected illegal immigrant to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to the National Conference on State Legislators, “Proponents of extending driver’s licenses to immigrants argue that licensing undocumented residents will lead to fewer hit-and-runs, more trust between immigrants and police, and increased revenue for Departments of Motor Vehicles. Opponents of expanding driving privileges assert that granting licenses to undocumented residents reduces the incentive to follow immigration laws and would lead to increased voter fraud, ID fraud, and bank fraud.”

A 2016 Pew study reported that 5,000 illegal immigrants live in Vermont. It is not known how many have received driver’s licenses.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Images courtesy of Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and Vermont DMV
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11 thoughts on “State Headliners: Vermont has been issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants since 2014

  1. Where has “Common Sense” and legality gone in this “State of Plenty”?
    For a person in this country illegally, to get a license, free health care, free education for their children, and more is just patently flaunting the “Law of the Land” and making ALL other laws suspect. Because if they can benefit by breaking our countries laws, why can’t we, this countries OWN citizens!??

  2. Wonder how many if any of these illegals take advantage of another perk. It’s call motof voter registration. If they can provide proof of residency in Vermont, what’s to stop them fromm registering to vote?????

  3. Real Vermonters can all rest easy, because NONE of these people who illegally reside in the US vote in state and federal elections.

    They often hold jobs, receive benefits from government programs, get payed in cash (no taxes), drive but often are not insured. Do they have social security numbers as well?

    I came here from the Netherlands many decades ago.
    I had to wait there for THREE YEARS while my paperwork was being processed by the US government.
    When I LEGALLY came here, under a green card, there were no coddling government programs.
    I had to have a RESPONSIBLE/FINANCIALLY ABLE sponsor who would hold the state harmless, in case something happened to me, such as a sickness, disability.

  4. I do not expect anyone in this left wing paradise to see how many illegals are voting, but it would be a simple as a check mark on their driver privilege card application. I got a privilege card for several years because it was easier than getting an actual license.

  5. I recall when the registry opened to illegals. It was reported, at the time, that there were
    40,000 applicants. That seemed a bit high….(like enormous)….but, I believe that was the number reported from Bennington. Anybody else recall this?

  6. What do you expect in this State. I imagine they get free medical and housing, all on our dime.
    The liberals voted this in so they could get more votes for unless I’m wrong and I hope that I am, it’s all you need is a drivers license to register to vote.
    These slime balls are ruining this State and have been for the last 10 years..

  7. So if I understand it correctly ” Illegals ” already broke our laws by being here,
    so our legislative geniuses allow them a drivers license ” a privilege ” by breaking
    our laws………

    I assume they are all driving fully insured vehicles that are registered and Inspected
    according to the laws of the road. Oh, wait their Illegals ” Criminals ” by nature !!

    Laws mean nothing.

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