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Are Undocumented Immigrants Who Obtain Driver’s Licenses Targets of Enforcement Actions? No, Says ICE

Now that some states will issue driver’s licenses to undocumented individuals, there has been concern that those individuals might be targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In fact, there have been some instances where individuals have been subject to enforcement actions very soon after obtaining a driver’s license in states that offer licenses to undocumented immigrants. In a recent meeting with ICE officials, the agency stated that it does not target people who are seeking benefits, including a driver’s license, nor, it says, does ICE receive information from states after individuals obtain driver’s licenses. However, ICE officials said that the agency may use DMV data as a law enforcement resource to target at-large priority foreign national criminals, along with a myriad of other law enforcement databases. In other words, undocumented immigrants generally should not be afraid to apply for and receive a driver’s license in states that permit them.