Lawmakers want driving cards for migrants repealed
February 12, 2008
Utah is one of a handful of states that allow illegal immigrants to drive.
But after an extensive floor debate Monday, members of the House of Representatives voted 39-35 to repeal the driving privilege cards for migrants.
House Bill 239 will now be sent to the Senate where similar legislation faced stiff opposition in the past.
Driving privilege cards allow undocumented people who obtain individual tax identification numbers from the IRS to drive.
Supporters of the cards say they have resulted in more motorists purchasing insurance for the vehicles.
But the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Glenn Donnelson, R-North Ogden, insists the cards threaten national security.
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Few states offer driving privileges to illegal immigrants so they also make Utah an attractive destination, according to Donnelson.
Opponents say driving privilege cards are often misused for illegal activities. Fewer illegal immigrants would move to Utah if the cards are repealed, they claim.
But Republican Mel Brown and Democrat Christine Johnson, who represent Summit County in the House, each voted against HB 239 this week.
Former state Rep. David Ure, a Republican who represented Park City, sponsored the first legislation in Utah that provided illegal immigrants with driver licenses. Driving privilege cards, which cannot be used as state IDs, were created after lawmakers found out some illegal immigrants had used the licenses to vote.