REAL ID: Minnesota governor wants driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton wants state lawmakers to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants living in the state as lawmakers work toward REAL ID compliance this session.

REAL ID is a federal law that was passed in 2005 to increase the difficulty for potential terrorists to use fake identification. The law focused on setting state standards for driver's licenses.

The Minnesota Legislature has failed for years to reach an agreement that would bring the state in compliance with federal REAL ID requirement, which will require upgraded IDs for domestic flights in January 2018.

The Republican-controlled House passed a REAL ID compliance bill last week explicitly banning driver's licenses from going to illegal immigrants.

Gov. Dayton says immigrants driving without a license or insurance creates a public safety problem. Wednesday, the governor said he's urging Democrats to hold firm and insist the state’s law expand IDs.

Senate Republicans say the governor is jeopardizing the passage of the bill as the state faces a deadline. Minnesota is one of 5 states deemed non-compliant by the Department of Homeland Security. The federal government has already extended the deadline several times for those states.

Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services says it would take at least a year to start producing upgraded driver's licenses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report