Idaho to consider allowing undocumented immigrants to earn driver's licenses

'They're here anyway and driving,' says Idaho Republican Jim Guthrie

An Idaho state senator wants his state's government to allow illegal immigrants to earn driver's licenses, although the cards would not work for purchasing alcohol or voting.

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Jim Guthrie, a Republican, plans to introduce such legislation this month or in February with the blessing of the Idaho Dairymen's Association, according to Townhall.com.

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"We have undocumented aliens in the country, and that's a given," Guthrie told the Idaho State Journal. “Until the federal government decides to address the illegal alien situation, (the proposed legislation) gives us the opportunity to maximize that workforce while they're here, because they're here anyway and driving anyway."

An individual residing in the U.S. illegally would need to renew the driver's license every year and pass the same driving tests as a citizen, according to Townhall.com.

Part of Guthrie's motivation lies in a shortage of farmworkers and truck drivers.

"One of the responsibilities of the Legislature is to be responsive to the needs of constituents, and I'm hearing a very considerable need for this from my constituents," Guthrie said. "I genuinely think it will help agriculture, and I'm getting a receptive ear on the issue."

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Bob Naerebout, CEO of the Dairymen's Association, said such legislation would go "way beyond agriculture."

"I think it has impacts on all of society collectively," Naerebout said according to Townhall. "Quite frankly, if you take the time to look at (the issue) you should be supportive. You should be supportive of the fact that if we have people driving on the roads, they should be properly educated and trained to drive. We want people on the roads who have insurance."

New York recently passed the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, which allows any person over 16 years of age to apply for a state driver's license regardless of U.S. citizenship status.

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