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Amendment turns TX DPS immigrant driver's license policy into law

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Amendment turns DPS immigrant driver's license policy into law

By JASON BUCH

SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

July 3, 2011, 2:05PM

As the House early last month debated a must-pass finance bill, one member slipped in language that puts into law a controversial Texas Department of Public Safety policy requiring driver’s license applicants to show they’re in the country legally.

The amendment, added by Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, to the education funding bill legislators needed to balance the state budget, originally was included in SB 9, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill that failed in the special session. It also had appeared in an omnibus homeland security bill by Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, that died in the regular session.

The new law approved last Tuesday makes some tweaks to a 2008 DPS policy that prevents illegal immigrants from getting a driver’s license and created a special license for temporary visitors.

The rules require Texans applying for or renewing their license to show they are citizens or are in the country legally.

By putting it into law, the state potentially undermines an ongoing lawsuit that argues DPS doesn’t have authority to check legal status. Across the nation, only New Mexico and Washington don’t have similar policies.

“From the standpoint of anyone who’s renewing their license, really it’s not going to be anything different,” Williams said.

He said the bill fixes problems with the DPS policy that had resulted in some legal visitors being denied licenses. And those who have proved their citizenship go into a DPS database and won’t have to do so again, Williams said.

The bill’s biggest change is that it allows DPS to tie the expiration dates of licenses to immigrants’ legal status, so their licenses expire at the same time as their visas.

But some House members decried the language after the bill passed last week, saying it impinges on civil liberties and keeps those who can’t show legal status from getting insurance, heaping costs on Texas drivers.

“Why do I have to be questioned about my citizenship?” said Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston. “You know I’m an American. Would they question someone that’s blond-haired and blue-eyed?”

Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, said his problems with the new law — and DPS’ policy — pale in comparison to his concerns about the failed sanctuary cities bill, but he’s no fan of the driver’s license rules.

“Does this mean fewer people are going to go in and get their driver’s license and fewer people are going to get insurance? That’s a negative,” he said.

Vikrant Gandhi, who immigrated to the U.S. from India in 2005 and is a market researcher and consultant in San Antonio, said his wife’s driver’s license identifies her as a temporary visitor, something he said could lead to her being treated differently when she has to show ID.

They’re considering moving to Colorado, Gandhi said.

“I’m not against them checking” the status of those applying for a license, he said. “But my thought is why does anyone who looks at my license need to know that?”

Luis Figueroa, the legislative affairs attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is involved in a lawsuit challenging the DPS rules, said the department’s policy kept some people who should have received licenses, such as citizens who were delivered by a midwife or visitors who have legal status the DPS isn’t familiar with, from getting them and he’s not sure the new law will change that.

“We’ve gotten hundreds of complaints of people getting the wrong licenses, people having to keep coming back and bringing more documents and people getting denied licenses,” Figueroa said.

But Williams says the new law takes steps to address those concerns. It requires the DPS to make the licenses for temporary visitors look similar to other licenses. It also creates 10 temporary visitors stations at DPS offices in major metropolitan areas and along the border that would be staffed by clerks who are trained to review immigration documents.

According to the DPS website, you can renew online if you are a U.S. citizen and your Social Security number is on file with the department. It also states that if you haven’t renewed in person at a driver’s license office in the past six years, you may be asked to present proof of lawful presence.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7637818.html


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Russia
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As someone who drives legally, I resent any law that makes it more difficult for drivers to get drivers licenses and therefore car insurances. If illegals cause an accident and I am hurt, I'd rather they had insurance and did not execute "hit and run" expecting that police officer will immediately know that they are illegal and take them into custody and eventually get them deported.

If they are deported, I will never see a dime from them for any damages. How is this good???


CR-1 Timeline

March'07 NOA1 date, case transferred to CSC

June'07 NOA2 per USCIS website!

Waiver I-751 timeline

July'09 Check cashed.

Jan'10 10 year GC received.

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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
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As someone who drives legally, I resent any law that makes it more difficult for drivers to get drivers licenses and therefore car insurances. If illegals cause an accident and I am hurt, I'd rather they had insurance and did not execute "hit and run" expecting that police officer will immediately know that they are illegal and take them into custody and eventually get them deported.

If they are deported, I will never see a dime from them for any damages. How is this good???

Keeps them in fear of the authorities from whom they might otherwise seek protection.


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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
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Keeps them in fear of the authorities from whom they might otherwise seek protection.

I meant to say "whom they might seek protection with".

They are illegal, after all. They *should* be afraid of the authorities.


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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
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Out of status. Undocumented... A person cannot be illegal.

Do you call yourself "an illegal" because you have sped while driving and broken the law?

Fine, let's just call them criminals. Better?

You know as well as I do that it's never just about their status. If all they wanted to do was chill out and drink Corona Light while here illegally, I'd have no issue with their status.

But as soon as they start working here, they commit other crimes, such as 1) tax evasion (if they work for cash) or 2) identity theft (if they use a social security number).


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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Morocco
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I know this is a losing battle with some people, but it's one that I think is worth fighting.

People aren't illegal; their actions are. End of story, unless we start using the term "criminal" and "illegal" interchangeably, or start calling everyone who has ever sped or ran a red light an "illegal."

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China
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Howdy From Texas!


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
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or start calling everyone who has ever sped or ran a red light an "illegal."

Running a red light is not a criminal offense.

Working in the US without authorization is.

Falsely representing yourself to be a US citizen is.

Using someone else's Social Security number as your own is.

Not paying taxes on your cash wages is.


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Filed: Other Country: Afghanistan
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Does this law mean if you are in AOS and have an EAD, your license is only as good as the EAD? Then when you get your license after the 2 year GC its only good for those 2 years? Basically, someone who comes in via the K1 would need to renew their license 3-4 times in roughly two years? If these further renewals within the "normal" expiration period were free I guess thats ok, otherwise it seems a bit like a way to make quick cash for the state.

first license - EAD, renewal - 2 year greencard, renewal - NOA1 for ROC, renewal - 10 year GC. That's 4 visits in 2.5-3 years.

Edited by Sousuke

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China
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Does this law mean if you are in AOS and have an EAD, your license is only as good as the EAD? Then when you get your license after the 2 year GC its only good for those 2 years? Basically, someone who comes in via the K1 would need to renew their license 3-4 times in roughly two years? If these further renewals within the "normal" expiration period were free I guess thats ok, otherwise it seems a bit like a way to make quick cash for the state.

first license - EAD, renewal - 2 year greencard, renewal - NOA1 for ROC, renewal - 10 year GC. That's 4 visits in 2.5-3 years.

Yup.

Texas Likes Immigrants, collects extra fees for those with lawful presence - it's just good business, helps to pay for training for DPS counter clerks.


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

-=-=-=-=-=R E A D ! ! !=-=-=-=-=-

Whoa Nelly ! Want NVC Info? see http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Congratulations on your approval ! We All Applaud your accomplishment with Most Wonderful Kissies !

 

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