Friday, February 6, 2004

Bredesen proposes license restrictions, new second-tier licenses and third-tier "certificate"

"The governor introduced legislation Feb. 5 that seeks to restrict licenses to those who are legally present in the United States, citizens or immigrants."

"Legal immigrants will be able to obtain a license that will be valid during the period of time they are authorized to live in the United States. If there isn't a definite end to their length of stay, the driver's license will be valid for only one year."

"Tennessee residents who cannot establish legal presence in the United States will be eligible for a 'certificate for driving' that will be distinguishable from a driver's license. The certificate will state that it has been issued for driving purposes only and not for identification. The certificates will expire annually."

"The certificate would be clearly different from a driver's license and would prominently state that it is for driving only and not for identification, according to the Bredesen administration."

"'At first glance, I don't think it meets the criteria I and others would like to see,' said Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro. 'My issue with the driver's license has always been a 'legal vs. illegal' situation. I don't want to legitimize an illegal.' She said she is reserving judgment until she has reviewed the bill and there had been some 'frank discussion' on it."

"Donna Locke, leader of Tennesseans for Immigration Reform, didn't like it at all. 'We do not support Bredesen's proposal to allow illegal aliens to continue to get state documents, in the form of 'driving certificates.' The public-safety argument is a false one.'"

"Bredesen’s legislation is the result of recent review of the issue by the Departments of Homeland Security and Safety (DOS)."

"DOS openly opposed Rowland’s bill last year saying issuing driver licenses to undocumented aliens heightened safety by assuring all drivers had passed needed testing."

"In a release, Bredesen stated, 'It is clear to me that we need to make some changes, and what I’m proposing is a moderate, common-sense solution that balances homeland security concerns with public safety concerns in a responsible way.'"

The Tennessean, Nashville City Paper, Nashville Post, Nashville Business Journal

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