After 9/11 I had to provide proof of Virginia residence and U.S. citizenship in order to renew my Virginia driver’s license – despite being born in the U.S., despite the fact that I’ve never even been out of the country (not even to Canada, when I lived practically within hiking distance of the border), and the fact that I had possessed a Virginia driver’s license continuously for fifteen years (since I was old enough to drive), with nothing more serious than a single speeding ticket. Why? Because the DMV didn’t keep an actual copy of those records when I originally got my license as a teenager, just a notation that they had been verified, and we suddenly (supposedly) got serious about not giving licenses to people who weren’t supposed to be in this country because the hijackers had gotten driver’s licenses when they weren’t supposed to. It was all for “national security”.
Apparently, NM is one of the few states that will knowingly issue a driver’s license to illegal immigrants, if they reside in the state. After bill to stop this practice failed in the legislature, the governor issued a requirement that the state verify the residence of known foreign nationals in order for them to “get or keep” their license (it’s not clear from the article if this applies when they renew, or if it’s a blanket re-verification). The judge has temporarily stopped this order, saying that “irreparable injury” would occur from “constitutional deprivations to the applicants.”
The only positive to this is that it is a temporary restraining order. From the sounds of things, I don’t hold much hope for it, though. This is galling, because as a law abiding citizen, I had to jump through more hoops in the name of “national security” to be allowed to continue driving than someone whose first act in coming to this country was to break the law.
When will we as a nation actually get serious about security?
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