Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Tuesday called for a departmentwide study of how recent state laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses impact federal enforcement capabilities, according to The Associated Press.
Wolf’s memo, which went to agencies including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, follows a New York law authorizing licenses for undocumented immigrants and restricting data sharing with federal agencies. Similar laws exist in a dozen other states, including New Jersey, which passed a similar measure in December.
Wolf wrote in his memo that the department needed to be “prepared to deal with and counter these impacts as we protect the homeland.” He also asked each recipient to take account of what Department of Motor Vehicles information is already available and of any security consequences their operations could risk without that data, according to the AP.
“The Trump administration takes the mission of protecting the Homeland very seriously,” DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift told the AP, adding that these types of laws “make it easier for terrorists and criminals to obtain fraudulent documents.”
Approximately 265,000 immigrants in the Empire State, the majority in New York City, are projected to seek licenses under the new law over the next three years, according to the AP, citing research from the Fiscal Policy Institute.
The law still requires applicants to obtain permits and pass road tests. Authorities in states with such laws argue that they will improve traffic safety by reducing the number of uninsured people on the road.