Friday, February 24, 2006

Here’s a surprise
Tenn. Halts Immigrant Driving Certificates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee stopped issuing driving certificates to illegal immigrants Friday after investigations found they were being shuttled from other states, using fake residency papers and sometimes bribing state workers to get the cards…

The certificates, which are stamped "not valid for identification," were meant to improve driving safety by making sure immigrants living in the state knew traffic rules. Recent federal investigations found that illegal immigrants were traveling hundreds of miles from other states to get the certificates illegally.

Non-citizens who can prove they are in the country legally will be allowed to get the certificates beginning March 6, after employee retraining. [Ed. – If they can prove they are legal, why not just issue them a regular driver’s license? It would seem TN has a penchant for tying itself into politically correct knots]

Tennessee is among 11 U.S. states that have not required proof of legal residence to obtain driving documents.

In early 2001, the state started issuing full driver's licenses without requiring a Social Security number, and more than 180,000 people obtained licenses. The driving certificates were created in 2004 to satisfy homeland security concerns; about 51,000 were issued [Ed. – Who would have guessed?]

Applicants are now required to provide two documents, such as a utility bill or lease, to show they live in Tennessee, along with a Social Security number or a sworn affidavit if there is none. [Ed. – Yeah, that will screen out illegals with a propensity for breaking ever law they encounter] They also must pass an eye exam, a driving rules test and a road test.

Nicely said the department was flooded with certificate requests, and employees were overwhelmed trying to determine which documents were acceptable to show residency.

Two major federal arrests in recent months exposed shuttles bringing South and Central American immigrants from as far away as New Jersey to state licensing centers in Knoxville, where the immigrants got certificates using fake residency papers…
And what does the ever helpful ACLU have to say about all this?
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said suspending the program "endangers everyone traveling the roads in Tennessee."

"The certificate program, while discriminatory to begin with, at least ensured that drivers were trained and had insurance," Weinberg said. The ACLU had favored the full driver's licenses.
Clearly, that is the ACLU’s main thrust, “that drivers were trained and had insurance.”

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