Previously posted on SSRN.


States increasingly use driver’s license laws to further policy objectives unrelated to road safety. This symposium contribution employs a health justice lens to focus on one manifestation of this trend—state schemes that prohibit noncitizen residents from accessing driver’s licenses and then impose criminal sanctions for driving without authorization. Status-based no-license laws not only facilitate legally questionable enforcement of local immigration priorities but also impose structural inequities with long-term health consequences for immigrants and their family members, including US citizen children. Safe, reliable transportation is a significant social determinant of health for individuals, families, and communities. Applying a health justice lens to the weaponization of no-license laws against noncitizens will both catalyze new legal challenges and create momentum for coalition building and policy reforms.