Do you have a US driver's license?
Because you have a drivers license
You’re probably aware that the following information is linked to your license and stored in state department of motor vehicles (DMV) databasesOpens in new tab:
- Social Security Number (or lack of one)
- home address
- fingerprints, and
- whether your license is valid
You might not know that state DMVs may sell or give away your home address and headshot to commercial data brokers and law enforcement entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE can use that photo to cross-check DHS databases by hand or using facial recognition tools.
Your driver’s license information is also taken and shared by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ (AAMVA) in their State Pointer Exchange Services (SPEXS) database. AAMVA is a private entity that works with law enforcement. SPEXS allows states to share Social Security and other information that can be misused in immigration enforcement. Some states have collected this information since the passage of the REAL ID Act in 2005.
Your data might also be stored in other databases, including:
- National Crime Information Center (NCIC)Opens in new tab
- the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets)Opens in new tab
- National Driving Registry,
- fusion centers, and
- National Data Exchange (N-Dex).
To see what databases would track you if your answer had been no, click the no button.
In some states, it is illegal to not identify yourself if asked by a cop. A cop may detain you longer for not having an government-issued ID on you, which could lead to an arrest. Also, federal immigration law requires lawful permanent residents to carry their official proof of status with them at all times.
If you have an ID issued by a non-US country, or a regional ID, like the IDNYC in New York City, police may assume that you are potentially deportable.
To see what databases would track you if your answer had been yes, click the yes button.
- State DMV databases Opens in new tab Because you have a drivers license