Friday, April 10, 2009

Judge shoots down DPS driver's license plan

Over the last few months, the Texas Department of Public Safety has been working on implementing a plan by which only people who could prove they were citizens or here legally could acquire a Texas driver's license. In addition, the department sought to issue a different license to non-citizens. The DPS also proposed setting up driver's license checkpoints around the state.

On Thursday, Travis County District Judge Orlinda L. Naranjo shot down the DPS plan when she ruled the department had exceeded its authority in forcing applicants to prove they were in the country legally.
"DPS has created havoc by attempting to inject its political agenda into the lawmaking process and improperly giving second-class to individuals who in every way have complied with the laws of the land regarding their presence in the United States and Texas." -- David Hinojosa, MALDEF
Gov. Rick Perry and the department had boasted that the new policy would help protect the United States and Texas from foreign threats. Far from "protecting" Texas, the proposed policy would only guarantee more drivers on Texas roads without state-required liability insurance.

The plan to issue non-citizens a different license could have subjected holders to racial-profiling, suggested Mr. Hinojosa. It could certainly have led to disparate treatment on traffic violations for citizens and non-citizens.

In issuing a temporary injunction, Judge Naranjo said: "This case is not about illegal immigrants obtaining driver licenses, it is about legal residents who have been denied or have been threatened a denial of a driver license."

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