Friday, February 11, 2005

U.S. House passes bill with national license standards

CNN reports that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill setting national drivers license standards with immigration enforcement in mind.

The new law would de-legitimize drivers licenses from states that don't check immigration status at the DMV. The Dallas Morning News reports that Tennessee's new certificate for driving is being eyed by states as an option if the law passes in the Senate. Because the certificate for driving - not a drivers license - is issued to drivers who can't establish legal immigration status, the Tennessee drivers license would presumably pass muster under the new law.

The National Immigration Forum says that the bill has little chance of passing in the Senate, in part because the proposed legislation slaps immigration and national security issues together without promising an effective improvement in either.

In an editorial, the Tennessean argues that the bill's claim to merely improve drivers licenses ducks the real issues:

"If the federal government actually wants to pay states extra for acting as immigration agents, let's have that debate. And if Congress wants a national identification card, let's have that debate too."

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