Illegal immigrants could obtain Maryland driver’s licenses under a measure the General Assembly sent to Gov. Martin O’Malley on Friday, and that aides said the governor supports.
The measure, which passed the House of Delegates 82 to 55, would reinstate and expand a program that allowed some immigrants to obtain licenses prior to 2009, when it was ended so Maryland could conform to a stricter, federal rule on IDs.
Maryland lawmakers, however, voted to repeal that decision. Proponents argued that the measure would make the state’s roads safer by allowing the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration to administer written and road tests for illegal immigrants, and for insurance companies to issue them liability coverage.
The measure was titled the Maryland Highway Safety Act of 2013. It was introduced by Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George’s).
Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA of Maryland, an immigrant rights group, praised the vote: “Maryland once again proved that despite a broken immigration system, reasonable minds can build safe communities that are knit together by our common interests,” Torres said in a statement.