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Undocumented Driver’s Licenses Seen as Possible Trap

March 9, 2014
Plain English Version

undoc drivers licenseA driver’s license for the undocumented is a sign of becoming legal in the U.S. California is getting ready to issue those licenses.

So why, in meeting after meeting, are many of the undocumented saying they will not get one? Simple. They believe the government will turn the information over to immigration authorities. Said one woman at a meeting held by the state, “I believe this license process is not secure. Is this a trap?”

Everyone agrees driver’s licenses are good. They show that the driver has passed a driving test. They allow drivers to get insurance. They help people commute to work.

Many undocumented immigrants do not trust President Obama. A large number of deportations have occurred since he became president. They say the failure to pass an immigration reform law means they are still targeted.

A big problem is that undocumented driver’s licenses will have special markings showing their status. “If they write something on the back of the license that says it cannot be used to deport me, then maybe I will get one,” a woman at the meeting said.

Another challenge is the identification that will be needed to qualify for a license. Immigrants who have been in the U.S. a long time may not be able to get birth certificates or passports from their home country. The IDs issued by immigrant groups may not be accepted.

If states allow more kinds of IDs to be used, there is concern about fraud and forgery.

California is going ahead and hopes it can convince undocumented residents that their information is safe.

Source: The New York Times                                                                                                                                                                      March 4, 2014

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