Driver's Licenses For Illegal Immigrants?

Plan Under Way To Get Measure On November Ballot

A plan is under way that would allow illegal immigrants to get a Colorado driver's license.

The group “Driver’s License For All” hopes to gather 85,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot so voters can decide.

Under the proposal, undocumented individuals would have to provide proof of where they are from and must show they’ve paid income tax in the United States.

Currently, four states: Utah, New York, New Mexico and Washington have similar measures in place.

Supporters say roads will be safer as drivers will be tested.

They also say the state’s economy would improve as drivers would be purchasing cars and insurance.

"I would hope that people could think enough about their own self-interest to recognize the benefits of this bill to them and all of Colorado,” said organizer Jennifer Piper.

The program has some critics. State Senator Kent Lambert fears homeland security could be compromised.

"Perhaps a terrorist that’s coming into the country, they show up at the Department of Revenue and ask for an ID card and all of a sudden they have access to virtually any government building in the United States," he said.

7NEWS checked with the Department of Revenue, which issues licenses. It is not taking a position on the plan.

How Illegal Immigrants Can Pay Federal Taxes

Illegal immigrants are paying taxes to Uncle Sam, experts agree. Just how much they pay is hard to determine because the federal government doesn't fully tally it. But figures available indicate it amounts to billions of dollars in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes each year. One estimate puts the amount of Social Security taxes alone at around $11.2 billion in 2010.

Paycheck withholding collects much of the federal tax from illegal workers, just as it does for legal workers.

The Internal Revenue Service doesn't track a worker's immigration status, yet many illegal immigrants fearful of deportation won't risk the government attention that will come from filing a return, even if they might qualify for a refund

Some illegal immigrants choose to file taxes and write a check come April 15, using an alternative to the Social Security number offered by the IRS so it can collect income tax from foreign workers. The alternative is called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

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