Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Obtaining drivers licenses for illegal aliens is one of the key objectives of the open borders lobby. 

While a drivers license is the de facto identification card in America, many states issue drivers licenses without requiring a valid Social Security numbers. A drivers license is in effect a "breeder document" that allows the bearer to open bank accounts, board planes, rent housing, and obtain credit.

Most importantly, a drivers license is a key document that allows the bearer to vote - even though that person is not a United States citizen. The Motor Voter Act of 1993 made it convenient to register to vote by requiring all states to allow all people who apply for a drivers license to also register to vote.

It should be noted that all of the 9/11 hijackers had drivers licenses or state-issued identification cards from "lenient" states.

Coloradoans are overwhelmingly against giving drivers licenses to illegals. A Rasmussen Report poll of likely voters in Colorado on December 12, 2007 found:

  • 75% oppose granting drivers' licenses to illegal aliens.
  • 71% say that when police officers pull someone over for a traffic violation, they should routinely check to see if that person is in the country legally.
  • 59% believe that if an illegal alien is discovered in this manner, they should be deported.

A few states give drivers licenses to illegal aliens.In 2003, California's Governor Davis signed into law a bill that would give illegals drivers licenses. This is likely the final act that contributed to his 2003 recall. Incoming Governor Schwarzenegger annulled the law, purportedly so that the electorate would not have a chance to vote on a referendum on the issue. 

Compelling reasons why drivers licenses should not be issued to illegal aliens

  1. A driver's license is a privilege that should be reserved for persons lawfully present in the United States, including those who are lawfully invited to immigrate here or who are lawfull guests in our country.
  2. Giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens compounds the incentives for illegal aliens to come to Colorado. This certainly is not in Colorado's best interest.
  3. Forty five states currently have chosen to have secure driver's licenses for legal residents only. Only five states have statutes or regulations that implicitly give illegal aliens access to driving privileges: Illinois, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Maryland. Even so, Illinois and Utah both prohibit these documents from being used for identification purposes.
  4. The federal REAL ID Act does not allow states to grant ID documents to illegal aliens. The 911 Commission Report noted that a driver's license is a "breeder document" or a gateway document, and opens access to all of our institutions.
  5. Fraud is "not uncommon" in private schools, where illegal aliens can obtain drivers licences in exchange for a bribe. See the article below.
  6. It is not likely that illegal aliens would want to subject themselves to Colorado's stringent driving requirements. See the following section.
  7. Illegal aliens will gain entry to the voting booth - a boon to the Democratic Party who know that all "immigrants" vote for the party that gives them the most freebies.
  8. Federal Homeland Security and even state officials acknowledge troubling and well-documented deficiencies in Colorado's system for testing driving applicants.
  9. It has been clearly demonstrated criminals and terrorists use Drivers Licenses to blend into society to commit terrorist acts and other crimes.
  10. State Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) and Representative Glenn Vaad (R-Mead) of the Senate and House transportation committees, said in 2011 there is no money in the budget for more DMV auditors.
  11. Although insurance is required to operate a motor vehicle, it can be easily cancelled. See the section below.
  12. It is likely that automobile insurance premiums could go up to cover the costs of illegal aliens who would drive with insurance - but who would not have undergone Colorado driving requirements, as noted below.
  13. A primary argument for issuing licenses to illegals is that as a result, highway safety would improve. Yet no such evidence is forthcoming from other states that issue licenses to illegal aliens, including New Mexico, Washington, and Utah. 
  14. Some illegal aliens may take advantage of a law giving them drivers licenses. However, those who fail the test will likely continue to drive without a license. Thus, we will continue to have safe drivers and unsafe drivers in the same approximate proportions as we do now.
  15. A proposal to stamp an illegal alien's driver's licenses on the back with "Non-Citizen" is a meaningless gesture. No one checks the back of a license. To be significant, a "Non-Citizen" designation must appear on the front of the license, not the back. Note that Green card holders and legal non-immigrants, guest workers and international visitors already can obtain a legal driver's license, and therefore such a requirement would not apply to them.
  16. A proposal to allow the Mexican Matricula ID Card to be used as valid identification to obtain a drivers license is unsound. No major bank in Mexico accepts the Matricula card to open an account. And the cards are recognized as IDs in only 10 of Mexico's 32 states and districts.
  17. Utah and New Mexico have experienced "driver's license tourism" - where illegal aliens entering the state and use a local address to get a Colorado drivers license. They then return to another state of residence, such as Arizona, Texas, or Kansas, where such licenses are not available. Colorado should not join this thriving industry of ID document fraud.
  18. A 2012 Colorado initiative to give illegal aliens drivers licenses failed dramatically, gathering under half of the required 86,000 signatures, even after months of trying. This reflects polling data revealing that 75 percent of Coloradoans oppose granting drivers' licenses to illegal aliens.

Experience of other states

Of the five states allowing illegal aliens to have driving privileges, Illinois and Utah both prohibit these documents from being used for identification purposes.

New Mexico began issuing driver’s licenses to non-citizens in 2003. Then-Governor Bill Richardson had argued the policy would reduce the high number of uninsured drivers in the state. A decade later, national statistics confirmed that the law failed to live up to its expectations. New Mexico continues to rank near the top of the list of states with the most uninsured drivers, consistently registering at nearly twice the national average, according to the Insurance Research Council.

An estimated 49,000 illegal aliens reside in New Mexico, and since the law went into effect some 80,000 licenses have been issued to foreign nationals. New Mexico simply has opened their border further to encourage people to come there for drivers licenses.

Tennessee stopped issuing driving certificates to illegal aliens after investigations found rampant "driver's license tourism" where illegal aliens were being shuttled in from other states, using fake residency papers and sometimes bribing state workers to get the drivers licenses. The driving certificates were stamped with "not valid for identification", and were meant to improve driving safety by attempting to ensure that non-citizens living in the state were aware of traffic laws. Federal investigations found that illegal aliens were traveling hundreds of miles to get the certificates illegally.

Issuing licenses to illegal aliens clearly acts as a magnet, drawing in more and more illegal aliens. The number of licenses issued to foreign nationals in three of the states that currently grant driver's licenses to illegal aliens - Washington, New Mexico, and Utah - has risen 60 percent.

Colorado's stringent driving requirements

Colorado has stringent requirements that must be met in order to drive in the state.

Before applying for a license, an individual must:

  • Hold an instruction permit for at least one year.
  • Log 50 hours of supervised driving time, with 10 of those hours occurring at night. During this time, you can only be accompanied by a driving instructor, a parent or legal guardian, or an adult alternate permit supervisor approved by parent or legal guardian. All supervisors must hold a Colorado driver's license.

Licensed Drivers Under 18 must adhere to the following restrictions:

  • You cannot ride with any passenger under 21 until after six months of owning your license (siblings and passengers with medical emergencies are exempt).
  • You cannot drive with more than one passenger under 21 until after holding your license for more than one year (siblings and passengers with medical emergencies are exempt).
  • You cannot drive with more than one passenger sitting up front.
  • You and your passengers must wear seat belts.
  • You cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. until after holding your license for more than one year. Exceptions to this rule include work and school reasons, and if you're accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Foreign Nationals living in Colorado who would like a driver’s license must meet the following requirements:

  • Pass the written knowledge test
  • Pass a vision screening test
  • Present identification which prove all four of Colorado’s identification requirements.
  • Present proof of current Colorado address
  • Obtain a Colorado Instruction Permit
  • Pass the road test

For more detailed information on obtaining a Colorado driver’s license, see the Department of Motor Vehicle website.

Insurance is required in order to operate a motor vehicle in Colorado. However, according to the DMV, it is astonishingly easy to obtain insurance and then cancel it, while continuing to drive.

Driving School Fraud

An April 10, 2013 Denver Post article, Aurora driving school owner accused of granting licenses for bribes stated that:

An Aurora driving school owner and clerk face federal charges for running an alleged scheme in which they would grant paperwork for driver licenses to anyone — whether [or not] they passed the tests — in exchange for a bribe.

Stuart Bryan King, 52, of Centennial, owner of Little Lake Driving Academy, and Griselda Trevino De Valenzuela, 42, of Aurora, the driving academy's clerk, were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Denver on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, Social Security fraud and Bribery, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the United States Attorney's Office in Colorado.

"There have been cases like this before, this is not unheard of," Dorschner said.

The two suspects are accused of charging $130 to $420 in cash to fraudulently issue passing test grades from August 2009 through November 2012, Dorschner said.

In some instances, King would go to the DMV and would tell people about his business while they were testing, according to the court documents.

In addition, the two are accused of filling out the written tests for applicants who could not speak, read or write English, according to Dorschner...

In one instance, a bus full of people who could not speak, read or write English came to the business from Missouri to trade out their Missouri identification cards — stolen identities — for valid Colorado licenses, Dorschner said.

A July 24, 2011 Denver Post article, Colorado laws invite abuse by private driving schools stated that:

  • 2011 - State Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, and Rep. Glenn Vaad, R-Mead, of the Senate and House transportation committees, said there is no money in the budget for more DMV auditors.
  • The 2011 case exposes once again what federal Homeland Security and even state officials acknowledge are troubling and well-documented deficiencies in Colorado's system for testing driving applicants.
  • 2011 - David Marwell, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations in Denver re Drivers Licenses "It has been clearly demonstrated criminals and terrorists use these documents to blend into society to commit terrorist acts and other crimes. They are also used as breeder documents to help these criminals to obtain even more government identifications."
  • 2011 - For a decade, federal and (Colorado) state authorities have repeatedly exposed scams in which driving tests were falsified, or state workers took bribes in exchange for granting driver's licenses to ineligible applicants, typically immigrants.
  • 2007 through 2009- The Nebraska State Patrol noticed a surge of Colorado driver's licenses being surrendered from October 2007 through September 2009.
  • Fewer than 20 states allow third-party driving examinations.
  • Colorado created its system of third-party examinations before 1998 as a way to reduce wait times in the state's DMV offices.
  • There are 185 third-party driving schools providing 30 percent of the state's road tests.
  • Only four DMV auditors monitor those schools and they are responsible for mandatory annual audits of each.

Timeline of illegal aliens issued fraudulent drivers licenses in Colorado: 2001 to 2012

  • 2012 - Sikiru A. Fadeyi indicted illegal sale of CO Drivers Licenses. See Driving School Shut Down By Dept. Of Revenue, Denver Post, July 27, 2011.
  • 2012 Indictment USDOJ - A federal grand jury in Denver last week returned an indictment charging three defendants with mail fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds in connection with the illegal sale of documents that enabled the purchaser to obtain a driver license or learner’s permit, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Colorado Department of Revenue announced. The three defendants indicted are Sikiru A. Fadeyi, age 62 of Centennial, Djibrill Sana, age 34 of Aurora, and Omar Masakira, age 53 of Denver. See Commercial driving school owner/instructor and two brokers indicted for taking money in turn for giving passing grades to driver's license applicants, US Attorney's Office, District of Colorado, April 30, 2012.
  • 2011 - ICE indictment- Driving  instructor Dennis Dean Sieving indicted on federal charges that he took money to certify driving exams. Many of Sieving's customers were immigrants from Myanmar, and Fadeyi's patrons mostly came from Somalia or Ethiopia. See indictment, US District Court, Colorado.
  • 2010 - Sikiru A. Fadeyi  - Federal Bureau of Investigation said Fadeyi was falsifying driving tests for Somalis coming to him from Nebraska. See Colorado laws invite abuse by private driving schools, Denver Post, July 24, 2011.
  • 2005 - A Denver license examiner was accused of issuing 978 licenses without getting Social Security numbers from applicants. (ibid.)
  • 2003 - Sikiru A. Fadeyi was caught falsifying driving examinations to help scores of immigrants, many of them Somalis living in Minnesota, come to Colorado and illicitly get driver's licenses — a critical entry point to American society. His license was then suspended. (ibid.)
  • 2001- Glenwood Springs police completed an undercover sting operation at DMV office, when the illegal aliens went to the driver's license office to complete their paperwork, full-time employee Patricia Kay with the Department of Motor Vehicles office falsified their documents to state the persons were legally entitled to receive the license. Virginia Escalante, 44, and Fernando  Escalante were contract workers who administered driving tests. The driving tests for the illegal aliens were falsified by the Escalantes. See DMV employee last to be sentenced in driver's license scam, Glenwood Post Independent, July 7, 2001.

Traffic accidents and fatalities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2010 that the cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with motor vehicle crash injuries was over $99 billion, or nearly $500, for each licensed driver in the United States.

A 2008 report by the Automobile Association of America states that according to the Federal Highway Administration, the per-person cost of traffic fatalities in 2005 dollars is $3.2 million and $68,170 for injuries. AAA estimates the cost of traffic crashes to be $166.7 billion. Costs include medical, emergency services, police services, property damage, lost productivity, and quality of life. Read AAA executive summary.

In 2011, 32,367 people died in motor vehicle crashes, down 1.9 percent from 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2011, 2,217,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes. In 2010, 32,999 people died in motor vehicle crashes and an additional 2,239,000 people were injured. (From Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.)

Subsequent complications

Pew study finds several problems in the state-based programs, Denver Post, November 26, 2015.

...About a dozen states, from Vermont to California, have run into a range of problems as they have launched state-based programs to expand driving privileges to millions of residents [illegal aliens] living in the shadows, according to a new report.

These challenges include allegations of fraud in Vermont, trouble with access in Colorado and high demand in California and Connecticut...

Since Colorado began issuing alternative licenses in August 2014, about 14,000 residents have taken advantage of the program. Although that figure is significant, it's still below the rate that Colorado expects — state officials have estimated it will issue about 78,000 licenses over three years.

Much of the trouble in Colorado has been financial. The legislature this year feuded for weeks over funding for the program, and the state was forced to cut from five to one the number of offices that issue the alternative licenses — which cost about $80 each, more than three times the cost of a regular license.

Ultimately, lawmakers agreed to spend about $513,000 on the program this year, and Colorado has since increased to three the number of offices that provide these licenses: Denver, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs.

From the report Deciding Who Drives, Pew Charitable Trusts, July 2015, updated September 3, 2015.


U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants can routinely obtain and renew driver's licenses, but some states have decided to allow unauthorized immigrants—those who do not have explicit permission from the U.S. government to reside in the country—to do so as well. As of the summer of 2015, 10 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia issue driver's licenses, or similar documents referred to by different names, to this population, and nearly 37 percent of unauthorized immigrants live in a jurisdiction where they may obtain a license ...

[...] As of August 2015 ... Colorado ... issue unauthorized immigrants [illegal aliens] an existing temporary license that certain lawfully present immigrants receive ...

Deferred action and driver's licenses

Federal initiatives that allow certain unauthorized immigrants to avoid deportation have an indirect impact on state driver's license laws and highlight the relationship between federal immigration policies and state laws and policies. On Nov. 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced an executive action that could allow up to 4 million unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, or who have children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, to be eligible to avoid deportation (called "deferred action"). Under the program, they could get employment authorization documents and a Social Security number ...

Costs and revenue

...Colorado's fiscal note projected several one-time startup costs, including $390,000 to design and create new licenses with modern document security features, almost $36,000 to reprogram the driver's license technology system of the Department of Revenue, and smaller amounts for legal review and rule-making and to create and print forms to be signed by applicants ...

Colorado Alternative license

[Costs] $50.50 [Issued for] 3 years

Changes to computer systems and programming also may be needed to accommodate new documents or to reflect a new license design. Technology upgrades or new websites may be needed if a state is going to create or expand an appointment system. For example, Colorado reported that it undertook major programmatic and computer system changes to be able to accept new types of documents.The state's fiscal note estimated a onetime information technology cost of over $425,000 to reprogram its computer system ...

...The Colorado ... statutes require that unauthorized immigrant [illegal alien] applicants attest in writing that they will apply to legalize their immigration status as soon as they are eligible to do so ...

Proof of state residency

...For example, Colorado ... require unauthorized immigrants to show that they have lived in their jurisdictions for a specified period of time, ranging from six months to two years, before they can receive a license ...

Exceptions to the Rules

If applicants cannot provide required documentation, at least four states offer or intend to offer special procedures, sometimes called "exceptions processing." These procedures allow issuing agencies to consider—on a case-by-case basis—alternative documents if an individual cannot meet the specific requirements. The process for exceptions may be included in statute or in the regulatory process, or it may be an already existing procedure ...

... In Colorado ... these processes are available to applicants for all types of licenses ...


Because they cannot obtain U.S. government-issued identity documents and Social Security numbers, some unauthorized immigrants may have previously used false identities, false addresses, or fraudulent documents to obtain driver's licenses for which they were not eligible. When those people apply for alternative licenses, the previous use of fraudulent documents often surfaces. States issuing alternative licenses should consider procedures for identifying and treating earlier fraudulent behavior while determining under what conditions a valid alternative license can be issued ...


...Colorado's law does not include provisions regarding sharing information about immigration status. It does, however, specify that immigration status violations are federal offenses, and it prohibits state and local police officers from using an alternative license as a basis for arrest for immigration violations ...


Each of the 11 jurisdictions that have decided to issue driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants [illegal aliens] has taken its own path from enacting law to issuing licenses. As this report shows, they make many significant decisions when designing and implementing license programs...