IRLI Wins Major Victory in Maryland Illegal Alien Driver’s License Case

Press Releases

September 21, 2006

In a court Order released earlier this week, Judge M. Brooke Murdock of Baltimore Circuit Court granted a Motion suspending proceedings in a controversial case brought by illegal aliens and their attorneys.

The case began in 2005, when 14 illegal aliens represented by lawyers from CASA de Maryland and MALDEF, sued Maryland State transportation and motor vehicle officials, claiming their constitutional rights had been violated when Maryland MVA officials declined to accept foreign documents as evidence of eligibility to obtain State driver’s licenses.

Shortly after proceedings began, the Washington DC-based legal organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) sought to intervene in the case, after realizing that a controversial legal opinion issued by Maryland Attorney General Cardin, had prevented the State attorneys and MVA officials from adequately representing the interests of Maryland citizens.

When asked for comment, Michael Hethmon, Executive Director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) explained by stating that “the goal of the litigation, brought by the illegal aliens is to weaken the identity verification standards, making it easier for illegal aliens to obtain licenses to drive in the State of Maryland, which further dismantle existing verification standards in Maryland’s drivers license application process.”

The Court Order, which was issued on July 31st granted a Motion filed by the 9-11 Families for A Secure America, a group which IRLI represents in seeking intervention on behalf of US Citizens.

The effect of this Order is to delay further legal proceedings until sometime next year, a time when many suspect the Maryland state legislature will begin the process of enacting legislation to comply with the newly enacted Real ID Act which further restricts how States may issue licenses to illegal alien drivers.

“Unless Maryland complies with federal law by May 2008”, said Mr. Hethmon, “Maryland State driver’s licenses and ID cards will no longer be valid for entry into airports or federal facilities, or for driving in other states.”

“This order represents a win-win situation for the legal residents of Maryland,” continued Mike. “The General Assembly will find it very hard to justify continued defiance of federal law when convening next year.”

The case, Echalar v. Flanagan, is thought to be the first in the nation to seek enforcement of the REAL ID Act’s ban on licenses for illegal aliens.

For further information, contact IRLI at 202-232-5590 or [email protected].

Get Connected

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.

Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.

If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.