Monday, May 09, 2005

Get out of Tennessee while you can

Tennessee and Utah are the only two states that issue two different driver's permits: a license, for citizens and permanent residents; and a certificate for driving, mostly for those who cannot prove they are here legally (with the words "not valid for identification" written on it). And the state doesn't accept the "matricula consular" cards from the Mexican Consulate as a form of identification either.

Also, according to the National Immigration Law Center, Tennessee was one of 12 states that didn't require proof of legal residence to drive legally. Back in May 2001, if you had a Social Security number, you could drive. But, after 9-11, that changed.

Jerry Gonzalez, a civil rights lawyer in Nashville, said a separate document for illegal immigrants is wrong.

"My problem is it treats lawful aliens differently," Gonzalez said. "They're being punished and treated like second-class citizens, and for what? So illegal aliens wouldn't have a scarlet letter."

Let's see if the people with the certificates will be treated fairly--especially by law enforcement.

Immigrants in Tennessee issued certificates to drive
New York Times - May 9, 2005

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