Starting last fall, the Texas Department of Public Safety began to require proof of legal immigration status before issuing a driver's license. Not only is authorization to be in the United States now required, but the applicant must prove that he or she will have this status for at least the next six months.
Several new measures have been proposed in Texas over the past year in attempts to control the problems associated with illegal immigration. From Texas border security to increased round-ups by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to serious legal consequences for employers who hire undocumented workers, our Lone Star State of Texas is feeling the pressure that comes with its border location to take the initiative in passing sound immigration law. However, one of its controversial efforts is now being met with a lawsuit in state district court.
Starting last fall, the Texas Department of Public Safety began to require proof of legal immigration status before issuing a driver's license. Not only is authorization to be in the United States now required, but the applicant must prove that he or she will have this status for at least the next six months. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) now claim that these stricter regulations are denying licenses to people who are perfectly qualified applicants.
According to news reports, a Mexican businessperson who lives in Houston named Enrique Lara has become the face of the legal protest. Since his business visa is scheduled to expire at the end of February, Mr. Lara was denied a new license when he went to his local DPS office to submit a change of address. Mr. Lara has lived in Houston for five years. His immigration attorney has never had a problem extending his visa in the past and had no reason to believe that future roadblocks would occur.
Time will tell if the courts decide that the Texas Department of Public Safety has overstepped its legal limits. I will certainly be following this case, as its outcome will have great impact on the ability of immigrants to drive legally in our state. At Bertolino LLP, we have immigration attorneys who specialize in the complicated issues surrounding immigration law. We have Austin immigration lawyers, Houston immigration attorneys and San Antonio immigration lawyers who can assist. If you are in a difficult situation and need some legal assistance, please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today. http://www.belolaw.com
Web Site: Bertolino LLP
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|Reviewed by Jennifer Lawson-Perez
|Interesting article! First, I should identify myself as a proponent of immigrant rights, and I have a vested interest in this, due to my life's events. But having said that, I am not opposed to licensing drivers, but I do feel that requiring a person to be here with documents to be eligible for a license makes me wonder if there will be an onset of uncompensated accidents, or hit and runs. I have seen this in California and wonder if the same thing could happen in Texas. Having lived in Mexico for 9 years, I found that many Americans living there did not have legal documentation and drove in spite of this, without a valid Mexican license. Not smart! But when pushed to the wall, sometimes people find a way around that isn't as appetizing. I wonder if it removes the motivation for an undocumented person to stop and acknowledge an accident. I don't know, but I'm speculating.|
|Reviewed by - - - - - TRASK
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