Would CA Driver Licenses to Illegal Aliens be Valid in Another State?

by P.A. Madison on January 29th, 2007

Q: Gil Cedillo, a California legislator has introduced a bill to authorize the issue of driver’s licenses not compliant with the federal Real ID Act. They are intended for illegal aliens.

My question is will other states be required to accept these as valid under the Full Faith and Credit clause, since they are meant to subvert the intent of federal law?

A: If Calif. issues only special temporary licenses to illegal aliens to operate on Calif. highways only, then no. If Calif. issues full fledge driver licenses contrary to the provisions of the Real ID Act, the answer would be no under Article IV, Sec. 2. Driver licenses are a privilege that only citizens are entitled to enjoy in another State as long as laws of the host State do not interfere.

Example, say under a new Texas statewide law that allows one to publicly eat in any restaurant naked – would not give you any rights to walk into any other restaurant in another State nude, and especially where there might be strict indecent exposure laws. Therefore, if a State passes a law that says only drivers with federally approved licenses may operate upon State highways, then California drivers beware.

I would like to add that I have real constitutional issues with the Real ID Act, but this can wait for another time.


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2 Responses | Leave a Comment
  1. Larry says:

    Since, by reasonable inference, the holder of the non-compliant California is an illegal alien, aren’t the public servants issuing such cards risking federal action by aiding and abetting illegal aliens?

    I don’t think there is any precedent for holding servants accountable for carrying out the law in good faith if you mean like DMV employee’s? If servants are following a law that is contrary to a federal law then its strictly a matter for a judge to suspend or void that law.

  2. Horace says:

    The whole concept of the Real ID Act is to establish identification that gives those who require its presentation a reasonable certainty that the presenter is who he claims to be. Would it be lawful for private or public entities to deny the completion of transactions when presented with a non-compliant license or ID card, since by inference, the non-compliant documents are unreliable?

    Since, by reasonable inference, the holder of the non-compliant California is an illegal alien, aren’t the public servants issuing such cards risking federal action by aiding and abetting illegal aliens?

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