Unlawfully Present Aliens, Driver's Licenses, and Other State-Issued ID: Select Legal Issues [March 28, 2014] [open pdf - 371KB]
"One aspect of the broader debate over aliens who are present in the United States in violation of federal immigration law has been their eligibility for driver's licenses and other forms of state-issued identification documents (IDs). The issuance of driver's licenses has historically been considered a state matter, and states have taken a variety of approaches. Some have barred the issuance of driver's licenses and other state-issued ID to unlawfully present aliens; others permit their issuance; and yet others instead grant unlawfully present aliens Certificates for Driving (CFDs) or Driving Privilege Cards (DPCs). CFDs or DPCs expressly state, on their face, that they are valid for driving, but not for other purposes. The federal government has generally not intruded on state control over the issuance of driver's licenses, although the REAL ID Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-13, Div. B) will, when implemented, bar federal agencies from accepting, 'for any official purpose,' licenses or ID cards issued by states that do not meet specific requirements. Regardless of whether they would deny or grant driver's licenses and other state-issued ID to unlawfully present aliens, such state measures have been challenged on various grounds. While these grounds can vary depending upon the specific statute or practice in question, the grounds most commonly asserted appear to be violations of the Equal Protection and Supremacy Clauses of the U.S. Constitution."
CRS Report for Congress, R43452