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Lawmaker: Watch Immigration Issue Nationwide Before Licenses for Illegals


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - A state lawmaker wants to see what happens nationally with the immigration issue, before deciding if he would propose driver cards again for illegal immigrants. Lawmakers rejected the measure from Assembly Democrat Pedro Colon of Milwaukee in the last session. Now, Colon says he’ll see what happens in Arizona and at the federal level before deciding if he’ll re-introduce the bill next year.

Wisconsin used to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, but that ended once the federal Real ID law took effect in 2007. The law allows states to grant driver cards only for that purpose – but Utah is the only one that does so.

Assembly Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater says illegal immigrants should not get the same privileges as those here legally. But Colon says his bill would make the roads safer, because lots of illegal immigrants are driving without the benefits of instruction or insurance.

In Racine County, District Attorney Michael Nieskes tells the Racine Journal Times there are hundreds of cases a year of illegal immigrants driving with revoked licenses or none at all. But he doesn’t know the exact number, because he won’t ask the defendants about their immigration status. He says it’s not relevant to their traffic arrests.