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Maryland may allow driver's licenses for undocumented individuals

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The United States is comprised of a blend of individuals from varying backgrounds. Some of these individuals were born in the United States, and some immigrated here. Regardless of which country an individual was born in, all of us play an important role in shaping the United States. Unfortunately, the process for gaining citizenship for immigrants can be difficult in many instances.

Tightening federal regulations resulted in the creation of a law in 2009 that meant that undocumented residents in Maryland could not receive driver's licenses. This means that every driver in Maryland was at a larger risk with this restrictive law because if an individual does not have a driver's license, they are unable to obtain insurance.

There are presently three states that have laws providing the ability for undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Maryland could soon join these ranks as a bill currently working its way through the legislature could change the prohibitive law passed in 2009.

State Senator Vincent Ramirez says in his support of this bill, "If you live in Maryland you should be able to obtain a driver's license." Passage could mean that more immigrants in Maryland are able to not only drive, but obtain more work opportunities and insurance coverage as well.

It is not unusual for an individual that is an immigrant to face deportation proceedings following being charged with a crime, often in relation to traffic offenses. In such instances, something that would be a minor offense for an individual that has citizenship could mean that the charged individual is made to leave the country. Hopefully this bill will pass so that more individuals living in Maryland have more rights.

Source: WTOP.com, "Illegal immigrants could get driver's license in Md." Nick Lannelli, Feb. 26, 2013

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