Man charged with bringing illegal aliens to Maine for licenses

BANGOR, Maine — A New Jersey faces charges following his arrest for allegedly bringing illegal aliens to Maine to get driver’s licenses.

Anderson Dos Santos, 30, of Newark, appeared in U.S. District Court on Thursday after being charged with harboring or transporting illegal aliens. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Dos Santos allegedly told a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent that it was well-known in the Brazilian immigrant community in New Jersey that it was easy for illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses in Maine. The state does not require proof of citizenship or proof of residency to get a driver’s license.

The ICE agent, who had been investigating illegal aliens coming to Maine to get licenses, made the arrest after finding Dos Santos and two women at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in Augusta, according to court documents.

The women admitted they were in the U.S. illegally, according to court records. They were taken into custody but not charged in federal court. Dos Santos was released on unsecured bail.

The arrest of Dos Santos, who is a permanent legal resident from Brazil, comes at a time when Maine lawmakers are debating whether to impose a residency requirement to get a Maine driver’s license.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has recommended that the Legislature pass a law to require proof of residency to get a license. But Dunlap opposes having U.S. citizenship a condition of getting a license.

Maine’s licensing policies have come under scrutiny the past couple of years.

In the fall of 2006, two out-of-state men were charged in southern Maine with bringing illegal aliens to Maine to get driver’s licenses. They pleaded guilty to transporting illegal aliens and were sentenced to more than a year in federal prison.

Maine’s licensing policies have also come into question in the case of an Irish man who was sentenced last week for a 2006 bank robbery in Bangor. After overstaying the time allowed on his visa, Niall Clarke used a Portland address to apply for a driver’s license, which he used as identification to buy the gun.

Robert O’Connell, head of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles licensing division, is the subject of an internal investigation for helping Clarke get the license. ... _licenses/