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Tennessee unveils ‘driving certificates' for illegals


Benevolent Dictator
DP Veteran
May 19, 2004
Reaction score
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Source: Borneo News

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) - A new law that went into effect last month means Dina Guirguis, an Egyptian in the United States on a temporary student visa, can't renew her Tennessee driver's licence when it expires in a few years.

The law allows only US citizens or permanent legal residents to get a Tennessee driver's licence. That rules out illegal immigrants and temporary visitors such as Guirguis.

But Tennessee is offering a unique compromise - a "certificate of driving" that illegal immigrants won't be able to use for official identification but that will allow them to drive. The certificate guarantees the person knows the rules of driving in Tennessee, but can't use it to buy a gun, rent a car or board an airplane.

Melissa Savage, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the certificate is the first of its kind, and other states will be watching to see how it works. That's not much comfort to Guirguis, who will have to start using her passport - written entirely in Arabic and French - as her primary identification in the US.

On the few occasions she used her passport as ID, the 27-year-old Vanderbilt University Law School graduate said she got "perplexed looks."

"One of the wonderful things about this country is it has traditionally and historically offered non-residents the same protection and due process as citizens," she said. "The change disturbs me."

The purple driving certificate, which looks different from a regular licence, reads, "For Driving Purposes Only, Not Valid for Identification."

Gov. Phil Bredesen, whose administration developed the law, said the change was prompted by the threat of terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001.

Savage said Bredesen's reaction is typical. State leaders across the country are taking a hard look at the risks of giving a driver's licence to anyone who passes a test - even when they can't prove who they are.

"When it came out that so many of the terrorists had acquired driver's licences, the trend now is to tighten restrictions," she said. "It's way beyond driving now, and 9-11 put that all into focus."

About 40 states have laws or regulations restricting driver's licences to those with a "lawful presence" in the country, according to the National Immigration Law Center, an immigrant advocacy group.

This year, legislatures in 25 states considered 49 bills on whether illegal immigrants could hold driver's licences. Advocates say giving illegal immigrants licences will improve traffic safety. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger repealed a law last December allowing illegal immigrants to get licences after opponents claimed it was a threat to national security. In Florida, a similar bill backed by Gov. Jeb Bush was abandoned after law enforcement officials raised security concerns.
I'll be @#$%ed!! If they want to drive legally, here's a thought: HOW ABOUT ENTERING THE COUNTRY LEGALLY! I think that if one wants to partake of all the rights and priveleges(like driving), not to mention opportunity, then at least have the courtesy to enter and remain in this country in a legal fashion.


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But Tennessee is offering a unique compromise - a "certificate of driving" that illegal immigrants won't be able to use for official identification but that will allow them to drive.

what part of illegal do they not understand. deffinition of illegal from dictionary.com illegal Prohibited by law why are law breakers being rewarded with a privalage granted to residents of the state. freaking chaps my hide something fierce. it makes absolutly no sense to me.
You fellows may not understand that but I think, if I'm not mistaken, Resident Bitch said something to that effect before: it could be a way for the State to count how many illegal aliens they have, by offering it more of them will come forward and it will be easier to track them down. Am I making sense?
As far as whether it's good or not, I don't know. I'd have to wait and see what other privilege they will be given next. Right to vote, maybe.
I'm with you CSA, when they hand them their "certificate of driving", escort their ILLEGAL immigrant ass back to the homeland. Illegal being the keyword....Just joined in by the way, had to jump on the wagon.
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