Act 172 of 2015 (HB1007) allows individuals to obtain a limited purpose driver’s license, limited purpose provisional driver’s license or a limited purpose instruction permit if residency and identity documentation requirements are met (listed in the bill). Below is a breakdown of what limited purpose licenses can and cannot be used for:
Can be used to:
Buy motor vehicle insurance
Can’t be used to:
Prove legal presence in the United States
Vote or register to vote
Establish job eligibility
Get public benefits
Board an airplane
Gain access to a federal facility
A concern brought up was a limited purpose license being obtained by an immigrant in the country illegally for purposes such as voting. This was an initial reason why some Republican members voted against the bill. However, as noted above, this turned out to not be the case. Limited purpose licenses are not equivalent to secure driver’s licenses.
As Catholic Charities Hawaii noted in its testimony in support: “11% of Hawaii’s drivers are estimated to be uninsured. These uninsured drivers increase the cost for those of us who follow the law.” The actual effect of issuing limited use licenses to someone without legal immigration status is limited to allowing them to drive legally and buy motor vehicle insurance, which benefits all other drivers. For these reasons, all House Republicans voted for the bill in Final Reading.
This law does not change the means by which immigration status is determined or take away any previously existing means to find and prosecute anyone here illegally.