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Should undocumented immigrants be provided driver's licenses?

Would the roads in South Carolina be safer if undocumented immigrants were required to obtain driver's licenses? According to data from a 2000 report by the AAA Traffic Safety Foundation, one in five fatal crashes nationwide involved a driver without a license.

According to some, requiring undocumented immigrants to take a driver's test to obtain a driver's license is a matter of public safety. But others see it as an unnecessary right afforded to people who are in the country illegally.

At this point, there are three states, including New Mexico, Washington and Utah, which grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. These states decided that the public safety benefit of having more drivers on the roads accounted for outweighed the issue of driving being a privilege.

Recently, the Los Angeles Police Department chief announced that he is in support of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. He reasoned that anyone on the road should be given a "rigorous testing process" and that driver's licenses would help to identify dangerous people with prior offenses.

Many in support of tougher immigration laws argue that the cars of undocumented immigrants driving without a license should be impounded. But the police chief said that there is no reason to impound these cars if the drivers can prove that they have insurance, hold a valid license and have no previous unlicensed driving convictions.

Some people in favor of licensing undocumented immigrants believe that impounding cars and other sanctions will not keep these unlicensed drivers off of the roads anyway, as they depend on transportation to get to jobs and other important places.

What do you think? Would it be a good idea to provide driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants in South Carolina?

Source: Southern CA Public Radio, "Driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants: A matter of public safety?" Leslie Bernstein Rojas, Feb. 23, 2012

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