Real ID still hung up on immigration issue

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is urging House Republicans to support a Real ID bill that does not include language banning drivers’ licenses for unauthorized immigrants.

It’s the key difference that House and Senate negotiators are trying to work out between their competing Real ID bills. A conference committee began meeting this week.

Minnesota remains out of compliance with the federal Real ID law, which begins a new enforcement phase next year at airports. Dayton and legislative leaders want a bill passed this session.

Dayton told reporters Thursday that he has no authority to change the current administrative rule prohibiting licenses to unauthorized immigrants. He said the statutory language doesn’t need to be in the bill.

“Nothing needs to be in the Real ID bill related to undocumented licenses to satisfy the people who are opposed to that,” Dayton said. “So why they still have the need to put it in, other than to make their own political statement or ideological statement or whatever it is, you have to ask them.”

But House Speaker Kurt Daudt isn’t backing down. He said there won’t be a Real ID bill without the language that prohibits licences for people in the country illegally.

“If the governor doesn’t believe he can do it through rulemaking, then he should have no problem with us putting language in the bill that doesn’t allow him to do it through it through rulemaking,” Daudt said. “That would have no effect on anything. It would simply provide comfort language, that what the governor says is what the governor actually believes, period.”

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