The reader-submitted concern is component of our unique edition Curious Texas, the invites readers to asking questions around migration between the U.S. And Mexico and also life on both sides of the border.


DPS is unveiling a redesigned Texas driver license and identification card through a new look and enhanced security features. (Texas department of windy Safety) (TXDPS / none)
As stories about the living problems of more than 2,000 migrant kids who were separated native their families at the U.S.-Mexico border proceed to unfold, curiosity about migrants and immigrants in the U.S. Has actually increased.

You are watching: Drivers license for illegal immigrants in texas

The recent news from southern Texas prompted Bill Wilson to reach the end to The Dallas Morning News. He submitted a question to our special version Curious Texas, that invites readers to ask questions about migration in between the U.S. And Mexico and also life on both sides of the border.

He asked: can a human being who is not in the U.S. Legally obtain a driver"s patent in Texas? can they gain government services such as food stamps or Aid to households with dependency Children?

U.S. Citizenship or evidence of lawful existence in the U.S.Texas residencyProof that identityA social security numberA Texas car registration and also proof the insurance.

An applicant deserve to use some form of bill that lists their Texas address, your social defense card, a passport and their vehicle"s registration and also insurance documentation to prove this information. DPS also provides a detailed list online of other records an applicant can provide to fulfill these requirements.

Anyone that cannot meet these qualifications cannot get a Texas identifier or driver"s license.

However, these conditions were not always in place.

Congress pass the actual ID plot in 2005, a law designed to make it harder because that terrorists, con artists and unauthorized immigrants to obtain government-issued identification. This additionally established specific federal demands for state-issued driver"s licenses and also IDs come be accepted for commonwealth purposes, such as boarding a residential flight or start a commonwealth building.

At the time, pendant of the bill said the real ID action was vital to guarantee the identity of a human being obtaining a state identifier in a post-Sept. 11 era. Opponents said cutting off unauthorized immigrants from getting a driver"s license and insurance would make roads less safe.

Although it to be passed 13 years ago, just 32 says are compliant through the act. Several other states, choose California, give applicants the choice to use for a actual ID card or for a commonwealth non-compliant card. 

States that space not compliant with the genuine ID Act have actually until October 1, 2020 to issue compliant licenses and IDs.


A customer opens up the door the a Washington state Dept. Of license office in Lacey, Wash., Friday, June 22, 2018 beside a sign giving information around the requirements of real ID.(Ted S. Warren / The linked Press )

Texas started asking citizens to prove they space U.S. Citizen or living lawfully in the U.S. In 2016 come comply with the genuine ID Act.

But Texas confronted some ID dispute before. In October 2008, DPS began requiring applicants to provide documentation that their immigration status. The agency established rules that provided differently marked ID cards come eligible international citizens from those issued to U.S. Citizens.

These international nationals" Texas licenses and identification cards would certainly be vertical rather of horizontal and would be stamped with the native "temporary visitor." they would also list the day the person"s legitimate residency expired.

A district judge clogged these Texas driver"s patent rules 6 months ~ they to be instated.

In 2011, DPS introduced a "limited term" label on driver"s patent issued to visitors to the state who are not a U.S. Citizen, lawful permanent resident, refugees or asylee. People who qualify because that this type of license have to be legal travellers to the U.S. Hold a visa.

The patent look the very same as other state driver"s licenses, however have "Limited Term" printed throughout the height of the card. This licenses expire as soon as the person"s "period that lawful presence" expires.

Recently, some Dallas-area Catholic churches enabled residents to use for church-issued IDs after the Dallas, farmer Branch and Carrollton police departments claimed they would give their policemans the discretion to accept these cards as a kind of identification.

Some church-issued id recipients said the cards added a measure of protection to immigrants who aren"t eligible to apply for a driver"s patent or ID. Some worry the not having a form of identification during something like a an easy traffic stop can lead to jail time and a possible run-in with immigration authorities.


Rev. Edward J. Burns, left, bishop that the roman inn Catholic Diocese the Dallas is followed a procession the clergy, legislation enforcement officials and Dallas-area city officials come the dais at mar Immaculate Catholic Church in farmer Branch for a Dallas Area Interfaith meeting on immigration, policing and city facilities Sunday November 5, 2017 in farmer Branch, Texas.(Robert W. Hart / one-of-a-kind Contributor)

Government assistance 

The price to Wilson"s second question is likewise no. Federal regulation prohibits immigrants living in the U.S. Illegal from receiving food stamps or government family assistance, said Christine Mann, a push officer for the Texas health and wellness and Human services Commission.

However, Mann said, there"s an exception where not authorised immigrants can gain emergency medical allowance coverage if they have actually "a confirmed emergent event."

She said this means a hospital can bill Medicaid for someone"s emergency visit, but it does not mean that an immigrant living in the U.S. Illegally can get complete Medicaid coverage.

"If figured out eligible, the individual is spanned by Medicaid only for the duration of a qualifying emergency medical condition, as proved by a medical provider," Mann stated via email.

Anyone — regardless of legal standing — who meets the demands for the Special Supplemental Nutrition regimen for Women, Infants and also Children, typically known together WIC, can receive these benefits, Mann said.

To be eligible to get benefits native Texas WIC, one individual must be:

A Texas resident

A pregnant, breastfeeding and/or postpartum woman

Classified to be a nutritional threat by a health and wellness professional

At or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

Anyone caring for an child or boy under 5 years old — regardless of legal standing — can also apply for WIC benefits for that child as lengthy as they accomplish the Texas residency and also income requirements.

However, current reports present that a growing variety of American kids are dropping the end of Medicaid and also other government programs since their noncitizen parents are afraid it could lead to deportation.

Health treatment groups to speak this trend may continue if a current proposed change by the Trump administration to green card eligibility i do not care law.

Under the proposed plan change, lawful immigrants might be passed end from getting a eco-friendly card if castle or household members — even if those family members space U.S. Citizens — receive federal government services, such together food stamps or Medicaid.

Staff writer Obed Manuel contributed to this report 

Tell us:

What perform you wonder about migration between Texas and Mexico and also life top top both sides of the border?


Elvia Limón. Elvia Limón has actually covered Dallas and its surrounding neighborhoods for The Dallas Morning News because January 2016. She's likewise worked as an intern and freelancer because that Al Dia, American way and Surrentum newspaper in Sorrento, Italy. Elvia is indigenous Dallas and also has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of arts in Journalism native the college of phibìc Texas.



Curious Texas

Get the answers come the the best questions about the culture, people and also institutions of phibìc Texas.

See more: Does Drink Water Upside Down To Get Rid Of Hiccups ? Does Drinking Water Upside

By signing increase you agree to our privacy policy

Real. Local. Journalism.

Stand through us in our mission come discover and uncover the story of phibìc Texas

Become a Member >

Southwest airlines pilot caught in expletive-filled rant over California around liberals, Hyundai drivers