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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

DRIVERS LICENSE RULES BECOME A HIDDEN TRAP FOR LEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

States around the country have been changing their drivers license rules to ensure that illegally present immigrants are not getting drivers licenses. Whether that is good or bad is certainly open to debate. But one of the unintended consequences of these changes is that many legal immigrants are having trouble getting drivers licenses either because the new laws are poorly written or because department of motor vehicle officials are not very knowledgeable about the immigration laws they are supposed to be interpreting.

My good friend Paul Parsons sent me this note about a case in Texas that shows how ridiculous the situation is. I recently had a similar case in Texas and have heard similar reports in many other places:



My client, Coleman Fung, was
recently denied a Texas drivers license.  
>>



 >>



Mr. Fung appeared at a Department of
Public Safety Office in Austin
>>



in February of 2009 to apply for a
Texas drivers license.    He had recently
>>



moved to Texas from New
York.   He presented his unexpired New York
>>



drivers license and his valid U.S.
passport.   The DPS official noticed that
>>



Mr. Fung's passport indicated he was
born in Hong Kong and advised
>>



him that new DPS rules require them
to see his Certificate of Naturalization
>>



before issuing him a drivers
license.    He also presented his original Social
>>



Security card.  >>



 >>



My client advised the official that
the DPS website indicated that a valid U.S.
>>



passport was
sufficient.    This woman told Mr. Fung that the DPS had not
>>



yet updated their website to
indicate that a U.S. passport is not sufficient
>>



proof of U.S.
citizenship.   Mr. Fung politely asked if he could discuss this
>>



with a DPS Supervisor.  
He was then allowed to discuss this problem with
>>



a uniformed DPS
official.   That officer confirmed that a U.S. passport for
>>



a person born outside the U.S. was
not sufficient proof of U.S. citizenship
>>



for issuance of a drivers license. >>



 >>



Mr. Fung still does not have his
Texas drivers license.   His Certificate of
>>



Naturalization was lost about twenty
years ago.   
>>



 >>



The DPS has no training nor
expertise in determining citizenship or immigration
>>



status of applicants for drivers
licenses.   They should focus on their mission of
>>



public safety and allow the
Department of Homeland Security's trained immigration
>>



officers to determine immigration
and citizenship status of individuals.
>>



 >>



Mr Fung immigrated to the U.S.
thirty years ago at the age of sixteen.   He
>>



became a U.S. citizen around 1987
when he was twenty-four.    Please note
>>



that Mr. Fung:>>



 >>



earned a Bachelors degree in
Engineering from the University of California at Berkley;
>>



earned a Masters degree in
Engineering from Stanford University;
>>



served honorably in the U.S. Army
for three years (in Germany and at Ft. Dix, New Jersey);
>>



is the Founder and Chairman of a
software firm that employs over 700 people
>>



     worldwide
(approximately 350 within the U.S); and
>>



is active on behalf of many
charitable foundations including supporting veterans' housing,
>>



     pre-schools
for children in Laos, and summer school for low income high school students
>>



     at Berkeley
(to name only a few).
>>



 >>



Mr. Fung is willing to testify about
why he believes the new DPS rules should
>>



be rescinded.    >>



 >>



Paul Parsons>>




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Comments

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
  1. George Chell's Avatar
    It is Texas..Land of Sharon Keller, George Bush, where Dick Cheney has taken up residence, where recently a police officer detained a football player even as his mother-in-law lay dying in a hospital. What else do you expect?
  2. JoeF's Avatar
    Wow!
    If they were doing that with me, I would sue them. I consider stuff like this unconstitutional. They can not single out US citizens just because they are born outside the country.

  3. JoeF's Avatar
    So, if current CA governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would move to Texas after leaving office, and wanted to get a DL there, he would have to show his naturalization certificate???
    Completely ridiculous.
  4. AJ's Avatar
    "They can not single out US citizens just because they are born outside the country."

    Not sure there's any bar on doing so because Article 2 does this today.

  5. Jim's Avatar
    Excuse me for being off-topic here but I think you guys need to read this.

    Rush Limbaugh calling Somali Pirates "Illegal immigrants": http://www.americasvoiceonline.org/blog/entry/limbaugh_thinks_pirates_were_illegal_immigrants/
  6. David's Avatar
    Relax! It will be some day when immigrants from certain areas won't be taken as immigrants.
  7. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    That's pretty hilarious.
  8. B. Matthew's Avatar
    Greg,

    How can we tolerate this!!

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US-jockey-calls-Indian-BPO-workers-slumdogs/articleshow/4400465.cms
  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Complaining to the station is one option. But in the bigger picture, the Indian community in the US should consider organizing an anti-defamation organization as other minorities have in order to effectively respond to this sort of thing.
  10. AD's Avatar
    Slumdog is the new macaca. It is just the word anti-immigrants or racist leaning fellows needed. If you say it's a slur, they will say that's how the movie depicted Indians. If you push on it, they will say Indians cant take a joke. Thank you Danny! you gave some explanation on how you arrived at the name but who cares.

    On the flip side, Dev Patel (not the kids) does not look an inch like a slumdog. Very very well miscast. His polished looks and the English accent were, if anything, very unlike a guy from the slum.
  11. AD's Avatar
    I am telling you, There is no doubt Mr Fung would have been asked for the original naturalization certificate and the proof that it is original even though he had one. US passports are not good enough??? Holy Molly!
  12. JoeF's Avatar
    "Not sure there's any bar on doing so because Article 2 does this today."

    Yes, but that's the only place.
    For example, there once used to be a rule that a naturalized citizen permanently residing abroad would lose citizenship. Since there is no such rule for born citizens, that was declared unconstitutional in 1964 (http://www.richw.org/dualcit/cases.html#Schneider).
    The bottom line is for me that (except for becoming President) I as a naturalized citizen can not be treated differently than a naturally born citizen.
  13. KD's Avatar
    I just read the transcript for Limbaughs "slumdog" program. Undoubtedly Rush was his usualy self and extremely insensetive. But he was trying to make a point about jobs not coming back, which is very true. In a a sense he was arguing what George and others repeatedly stress in this forum that jobs are leaving US at a remarkable rate never to come back again.

    I dont want to condone his insensetive and racist remark, but unmistakably he signals that a section of Americans are losing this economic battle to "slumdogs". Unfortunately, Rush fails to see that its actually their lawmakes like Grassley who are responsible for this.
  14. Jim's Avatar
    Another article from NYT.

    AFL-CIO and Change to Win federation now supporting immigration reform?

    Is this a possible game changer?

    See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/us/14immig.html?pagewanted=1&tntemail1=y&_r=1&emc=tnt
  15. George Chell's Avatar
    "Slumdog is the new macaca. It is just the word anti-immigrants or racist leaning fellows needed."

    At this rate white Americans working in places such as Singapore will be called trailer trash!
  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "I just read the transcript for Limbaughs "slumdog" program. Undoubtedly Rush was his usualy self and extremely insensetive. But he was trying to make a point about jobs not coming back, which is very true. In a a sense he was arguing what George and others repeatedly stress in this forum that jobs are leaving US at a remarkable rate never to come back again.

    I dont want to condone his insensetive and racist remark, but unmistakably he signals that a section of Americans are losing this economic battle to "slumdogs". Unfortunately, Rush fails to see that its actually their lawmakes like Grassley who are responsible for this."

    I would like to ask the antis such as Grassley and Berry which is it? Barring migrants mean jobs staying in this country for an American to take or is the job following the migrant abroad? I dont think these guys can make up their mind and reach a consensus. If the product is made abroad and shipped back to the US, Rush should be attacking the Americans for buying those cheap products instead of supporting Americans by buying expensive ones..will go over very well when Americans are struggling to put food on the table, right? If the jobs go abroad to make products for sale in India or Asia, then the issue is completely different. For instance, an Indian programmer or Indian manager/worker will be more familiar with the cultural and market environment in India than an American, unless that American is a naturalized citizen or first generation! That is the reality. They are looking for a better fit. Now if they cannot bring Indians here to make products for sale in India, they ship the jobs to India. So, there are two issues here, slumdogs and trailer trashes (or whatever Limabugh or his equivalent in Asia want to call foreign workers) not withstanding!

  17. Rob 's Avatar
    I guess they still have not updated the website:

    http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/driver_licensing_control/identificationrequirements.htm


  18. Deb's Avatar
    Good riddance! This is certainly ridiculous.
  19. no surprise here's Avatar
    This news should be hardly surprising to ANY non-white person living in the USA, citizen or H1B,...it doesn't matter!

    White people will be automatically assumed and treated as their own. Chinese or Indians will be "foreigners" even if you were born in this country. forget about immigrating at age 16!
  20. Jim's Avatar
    Texas Governor: Texas could secede from Union

    See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html

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