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Stricter state rules reducing licenses issued to undocumented applicants

Fri., July 15, 2011, 2:02 p.m.

SEATTLE (AP) — The state Department of Licensing says fewer out-of-state people who can’t provide a Social Security number have sought to obtain a driver’s license in Washington.

The department’s new data may suggest stricter rules implemented this past year are deterring illegal immigrants from other states from getting licenses here.

Washington state is one of two states that do not require a Social Security number — essentially proof of legal residency in the country — when obtaining a license. Critics say the lack of legal residency proof has made Washington a magnet for identification fraud.

But the department’s data shows that in the first half of 2011, 5,346 people didn’t provide a social security number. In all of 2010, more than 23,000 did not.

When accounting for all out-of-state license applicants, 16 percent of them didn’t provide a social security in 2010. That has dropped to 8 percent through June of this year.

Under new rules, the department is asking for proof of residency in the state, such as a bank statement or vehicle title. Utility or cable bills are no longer accepted.

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