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Senate panel nixes licenses for illegal immigrants

UPDATE: The House Judiciary Committee has also passed a bill restricting driver's licenses to those who can prove they're in the country legally. Their version, however, grandfathers in those who already have licenses.

The AP reports that the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted late Wednesday night to bar illegal immigrants from getting driver's licenses or state ID cards. Maryland is now one of just four states that allows people to get licenses without proving they're in the country legally and is the only one east of New Mexico, which some people say makes the state a magnest for illegal immigrants up and down the East Coast. Immigrant advocates, though, say licensing people regardless of immigration status at least ensures that people on the road know how to drive. (After all, if you've already broken immigration laws to get here, why not break traffic laws and drive without a license?)

This is a pretty big step for Annapolis after years of contentious debates on the issue. It's hard to know how things will go from here, but it looks like there's a decent chance that this will actually pass in the next couple of weeks.

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