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Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrants

Since 2001, Tennessee has issued a "certificate" to immigrants that allows them to drive even though they may not be legal residents. This may be a way out for states that don't agree with the Real I.D. Act.

Tennessee is one of only two states that issue two different driver's permits: a license, for citizens and permanent residents; and a certificate for driving, primarily for those who cannot prove they are here legally. To satisfy domestic security concerns, the state has tried to forbid the certificate's use as identification. Utah also has a two-tiered system.

With Congress preparing to require states to issue driver's licenses only to citizens and legal residents, other states that want to allow noncitizens to drive may begin looking to Tennessee's system as a model.

Two-tiered systems like Tennessee's are discriminatory. Since the certificate is so different in appearance from a driver's license, it's a red flag - a scarlet letter. It doesn't operate as an identification card which prevents many immigrant workers from opening bank accounts. It would be better for the Senate to refuse to pass the Real ID Act this week. Since that's not likely to happen, this may be the best alternative.

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  • Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#1)
    by jarober on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:51 PM EST
    TalkLeft is still baffled by the "illegal" part of "illegal immigrant": "Two-tiered systems like Tennessee's are discriminatory. Since the certificate is so different in appearance from a driver's license, it's a red flag - a scarlet letter. It doesn't operate as an identification card which prevents many immigrant workers from opening bank accounts. It would be better for the Senate to refuse to pass the Real ID Act this week. Since that's not likely to happen, this may be the best alternative." Well heck, it should look different - the people getting it aren't citizens. You know what a real driver's license allows you to do? Register to vote. I guess this means that TL is in favor of illegal aliens voting in local and federal elections then. Why not just throw the borders open on election day, and let anyone vote? What's the point of being a citizen in that case?

    How about neither. Or, in a revolutionary policy, you would have to be in the country legally to get some form of driver's license.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:53 PM EST
    You guys fail to see the fundamental truth....illegal immigrants won't stop coming. Build a 20 ft. fence along the whole border, the immigrants will climb it. Don't let them get licenses, they'll drive without. That being said, do you want them licensed while driving around your neighborhood or not?

    Build the fence/enforce the law. My guess is your theory would lose if we were to be less hospitable to illegals. Why don't we try it.

    Kdog... ....illegal immigrants won't stop coming. True...as long as we continue to welcome them. So, are you saying we should just continue to 'reward' lawbreakers.. turn our heads and just appease them? Dude, in the new "common sense party" we can't let that happen... agree? That being said, do you want them licensed while driving around your neighborhood or not? No... I want them deported. An illegal (with a valid license - which is a whole other issue) killed 3 people in a head on here last year. Couldn't speak or read English & had NO business behind the wheel of a car!

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#6)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    They will keep comiing, and what really burns the wrong-wingers is that their business policies encourage it. What really burns the wrong-wingers is that the cheap labor is right up their alley, so they talk out of both sides of their mouth. The vastly wrong-wing controlled business structure in this country is clamoring for tighter restrictions and enforcement on immigration, all the while exporting jobs and capital overseas. That my friends, is how the wrong wingers plan to stop immigration, they will just send the jobs to them, instead of asking the workers to come to us. But until every job that can be exported has been, you will still even have the head wrong-winger looking for ways to make exploitation of undocumented (I love it when they use that term instead of illegal!) workerseasier and more legal... Go Bush.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    As I always say when immigration policy comes up, until the govt. goes after those who employ illegal immigrants, all the immigration law enforcement in the world won't stop the tide. Just like drug policy, it's the demand, before the supply, that must be controlled. BB...Reward? No, I don't think a drivers license is a reward. I'm being sensible, they will drive without a license if one cannot be obtained. Just like an American citizen. Regardless of the law, with the lack of quality public transportation in most areas, if you want to work you have to drive. I'd rather the illegal immigrants take a road test. If they pass a road test without being able to read road signs, as you mentioned, is a whole other DMV problem. I will admit I am way out of the mainstream on this issue. I believe in the freedom of all peoples to travel freely across the globe, and to stop and work if need be. Will this lead to many problems?...probably. But I love freedom, messy and problematic as it is. First and foremost, we are all citizens of planet earth, and should be free to roam it. But by all means, if illegal immigration bothers you, protest against it. Good luck, because you'll be taking on both the Democrats and Republicans on this one. But as I said, it's not my fight. Immigration, illegal or otherwise, doesn't bother me.

    I think the press interest has both parties scurrying for the shadows. They don't like the publicity. On that, I will agree. I must ask, however, who you think loses out with the low cost labor? The lowest income individuals in this country is the answer.

    Want to deal with illegal immigration ED? It's simple. All Congress has to do is pass a law stating that any company who hires I.I.'s is subject to a fine of say....$10 million per immigrant, per incident. Create a law as hard-core as those against say, Kidnapping or Child Exploitation/Pornography. Secondly, to insure corporate responsibility, make the Board of Directors criminally liable for corporate acts. I can't see much difference between this idea, and the military concept of a CO being reponsible for the conduct of their men. Between these two options, the demand for illegal immigration will dry up. Unable to find jobs, they will stop coming. Simple. Now get that legislation past the Big Biz. interests who own our political process.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#10)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    Adept: We finally agree! Luv your idea. I guess you like manditory minimums since you are coming out with the fines and all ahead of time. Can we agree to throw a fence up in the mean time?

    I'm with you on enforcing those laws, particularly since many are already on the book. Can we build the fence too?

    Can you build a fence? That depends. Will the guards be looking outward or inward? With you RWNJ's, it's hard to tell.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#13)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    adept - I think they will let us out. Coming back may be a different story. et al - I'll say it again. Put some employers in jail for a couple of years. To heck with fines. They're just paid by the corporation's stock holders. Maybe treat them like we treat Elian Gonzales relatives and neighbors.

    There you go Jim, thinking again. You do have one correct notion, putting the employers in jail, as I suggested. Anybody think ANYONE would take a chance on hiring I.I's again, if the next time I.I.'s are found working for say...Walmart, instead of getting a special govt. sweep-it-under-the-rug treatment, the CEO and a few others did 5-10 years in a..what was the Office Space quote...A "federal pound me in *** *** prison?"

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    I am certainly anti-fence, because the immigrants desperate for work will climb it or tear it down. Waste of time and money, with so many Americans more than willing to hire an illegal nanny or landscaper. People scream on and on about immigration, until they need to find a nanny for $5 an hour, then it's a non-issue. ED, the plight of the working man is important to me, but I don't see a difference between the working man born here and the one born a few miles south of an imaginary line in the sand. I'd love to see the lives of the worldwide working class improved. Tell me how building a fence will do that, and I'd be open to debate.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#16)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:55 PM EST
    kdog - The truth is that the illegals are putting extreme downward pressure on wages. That is hurting the working men and women of your country. No illegals, and suddenly cutting grass and being a nanny will pay a lot better.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#17)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:55 PM EST
    The issues are only about who will get what when this non nation falls apart, the nexican oligarchies want land that was never part of mexico, the so called American oligarchies want more slaves, its all about who rules what and who will start the genocide and what palms get the greasing with blood. its about the mass dismantling of the USA, And the mass murder of people, its about recomnquista and the real power behind this evil. by the way check out what happened in a 1964 meeting with the mexican president and LBJ And about keeping people in line the old way.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#18)
    by krazycory on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:55 PM EST
    i agree, you should be a citizen to have a D.L. and i also agree to very stiff penalties for those who hire the illegals. i'm in the construction biz. and for the record i DO NOT employ any illegals but I'm the minority on that issue!!! Everyone i know in the building const. trades all employ a few of them. I know of quite a few that have fired thier american crews just to hire the illegals and it's not only because they'll work for less but they'll work in conditions that anyone with any rights OR SENSE would refuse to work in. if one of them gets injured o'well there are 1,000,000,000 to take thier place

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:55 PM EST
    PPJ...I just said I don't see a difference...working people are working people. Where circumstance decided they be born is irrelevant to me. If hopping a fence will better the life of a working man, how can I object in good conscience? We just had a case here in NY, where some local police dept's have begun enforcing immigration law. They snagged some 19 yr. old whose parents brought him here when he was 5. He is now being deported to Honduras, a country he has never known. Plenty more injustice like this to come amidst all this anti-immigranbt hysteria.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#20)
    by krazycory on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:56 PM EST
    14 years is plenty of time to get your citizenship

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:56 PM EST
    Right kory...a 5 yr. old is suppose to apply for citizenship? C'mon. When he turned 18 he was probably afraid to come forward, and judging by what happened, can you blame him? "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to live free..." How soon we forget. Or is it that now that the infrastructure is built, our ideals have changed. How convenient.

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#22)
    by krazycory on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:56 PM EST
    you're right to a point. all of our ansestors came here from somewhere but it was done legally. tell me of one law i can break and not suffer any reprocussions. I CAN'T THINK OF ONE!!!!! but according to you we should open the borders and let everyone in. maybe you should leave NY and come to a part of the country where this is turning into a really big problem. as far as the 19 yr. old did they deport his parents? or did they get all of thier paperwork in order and just say to hell with our child he can fend for himself? i didnt mean that he should've obtained the documents when he was 5 i meant that 14 years is time enough for his parents to jump through all the hoops

    Kdog.... Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to live free..." -- How soon we forget. I don't think any of us on here are against immigration... but we can't have thousands jumping the fence every week. It puts a severe burden on the 'legal' population.... Not the least of which is taking jobs that the 'legal' citizens should be getting. I read recently were something like 90% of the outstanding arrest warrants in LA are for illegals. (not because they are here, but because they committed 'other' crimes) Also 11 hospitals had to shut down in LA county because of the influx of illegals that could not pay. My girlfriend is a nurse here in Chicago and I can tell you many stories where poor 'legal' families are turned away due to the lack of insurance, but an illegal with a green card somehow gets preferential treatment.. that is just not right. Common Sense!

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#24)
    by krazycory on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:56 PM EST
    BB you just hit the nail on the head

    Re: Tenn. Issues Driving Certificates to Immigrant (none / 0) (#25)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:57 PM EST
    PPJ wrote No illegals, and suddenly cutting grass and being a nanny will pay a lot better. Not sure, to say the least, I agree with this gigantic generalization. First off, with gardeners and nannies, you're largely talking about a higher income customer -- at least for domestic help in these areas. And trust me, most upper-middle class and above folks -- and this is from years of experience -- can certainly, without much effort, pay more to their employees. What does it tell you about anyone who pays their nanny as little as they can? We're talking taking care of you CHILDREN!! Also, you think Burger Kind or Target or whoever are going to miraculously start paying their grunts fifteen bucks an hour because there's not immigrant labor to hire? Are they suddenly going to tell the stockholders, sorry, we have to take this massive cost, because it's better for society in the long run, no more nice dividends for now? I don't think so. I think they SHOULD many times, but corporations, with rare exception, have not evolved to think of unskilled labor as anything more than disposable humans. Think about it, Jim, you're asking people and companies to basically be more generous to native workers -- or are you not? Are you just saying, like a math equation, that illegals will leave and suddenly there will be so many jobs and so few people to fill them that unskilled wages will skyrocket? I'd hope it's the former, since in the unskilled labor market the laborer has little to no leverage, whether citizen or not, with which to get higher wages except through the decency of their employer. Will the guy flipping burgers make more than poverty wages when the illegals, somehow, are all deported or go home? Doubtful, since the minimum wage in this country, unless you're very young and single, IS poverty wages. We want everyone to consume, but we don't want to pay enough people enough money to consume. Profit above people is at the heart of the matter. A viscious circle, a dog chasing its tail.