More Unlicensed Drivers and Longer DMV Lines, All Slipped Into a ... School Finance Bill?

licenseplace.jpg
The East Dallas driver's license office on a recent Wednesday morning. Cozy!
Those state-lawmaker types are a shifty bunch, eh?

During the state legislature's regular session, lawmakers debated a bill that would have required proof of citizenship or legal status for anyone applying for a new or renewed driver's license. That way, argues sponsor Tommy Williams, a Woodlands senator, illegal immigrants couldn't legally drive to the Home Depot parking lot to be picked up by the senator's friend, who really needs to get that fence finished this weekend, otherwise the wife won't let him play golf.

The measure didn't go anywhere, and was apparently pretty unpopular. But bad ideas never die easily, especially when there are guys named Tommy involved.

So, wouldn't you know it, we just received word from the Terri Burke, the not-at-all-pleased director of the Texas ACLU, who informs us that the driver's license provision passed after all. It was slipped into the must-pass school-finance bill at "the 11th hour," which apparently means "last minute." (We always thought it meant "almost time to leave the bar.")

"These new rules will cause lines to grow longer and individuals will be wrongly denied driver's licenses. Just think, many of us may not have, nor need, passports and have no idea where our birth certificates are.

"The main result will be to increase the number of unlicensed and therefore uninsured drivers in Texas. Some authorities estimate the number of uninsured drivers in Texas to be one of every four. Why would the legislature adopt a provision that will drive that figure even higher?"

The measure is similar to Voter ID laws passed in Texas and states around the country. Those laws are designed to make it harder for illegal immigrants (and dead people!) to fraudulently vote in our elections -- because, you know, illegal immigrants just love showing up at rooms full of really official paper work. In reality, the laws just make it harder for certain classes of people to vote. Really old people, mostly. As if dry skin and impending death aren't bad enough.

In this case, the law appears designed simply to make illegal immigrants take the bus. Because as every lawmaker figures it, taking the bus is such a degrading experience, the immigrants will probably just throw in the towel and head back to Guatemala or Canada or wherever. Or they'll drive just drive around unlicensed and uninsured, in which case we'll catch them and ship their asses back. Win-win, amigos.

In fact, the bill will just put more unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road, make the room above even more crowded. That's OK, though. The state is so flush that it's able to really staff up its driver's license offices, with workers ready and willing to whip through all that crumpled citizenship paperwork. Right?

Oh, wait. This is how many people the state has handling license applications on a random weekday morning:

licenseplace2.jpg

Good call, Tommy. Good call.


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17 comments
Bellyupdallas
Bellyupdallas

Im so confused about all this immgration crud...I was not born here, yet never have a problem showing the forms I need....

I was at the DMV the other day and the people having a hard time were actually the ex-cons without any paperwork as I guess something to do with something to do with realease papers with something is not want the DMV needs so she had to go and get a birth certificate.

So off she went.....in her car to get her birth certificate

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

Call Dan Henry at Fox 4, there's a tempest in a teapot he needs to track over at the Ob.  

This was already a law.  Read the story you linked to.  The difference?  Before DMV workers -could- ask for proof (and from anecdotal evidence provided here, do, frequently, maybe even most or all of the time).  Now they just have to.  The legislation also allows temp-visa people to get licenses, and allows immigrants to have the same licenses as natives, removing stigmatization.  

In short: very little has changed.  Exceptionally little.  In most cases, maybe absolutely nothing at all has changed.  

Also, crappy journalism award: there's nothing here to suggest longer DMV lines.  Not an ounce.  Having to provide proof of citizenship or other paperwork is nothing new, as I've noted, and this won't cause more people to suddenly go into the DMV.  (The opposite, actually...illegals will know they don't need to bother.)  Your single photo of a single local DMV doesn't prove diddly squat, as there's no context.  Yet the headline required 'longer lines', a statement designed to generate ire among readers, because who likes longer DMV lines?

UTDave
UTDave

Looks like somebody is going to give Richie a run for "biggest dumbass on the Dallas Observer staff"...

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand

Joe Tone obviously has inadequate reading comprehension.  In regard to excluding "really old people", the voter photo id law does not require photo id for any voter who is 70 years of age or older as of January 1, 2012.

Tone purpose to advocate for criminals acquiring legal ID.  He must be taking on Megan job as the Observer's spokesperson for illegal aliens.

John_McKee
John_McKee

" Really old people, mostly."

I think it's mostly poor people and students, not old people, you know, the people that tend to vote Democratic because Republicans are constantly trying to find new ways to screw them over even more.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

The purpose of this legislation (and the other bills like it, such as the so-called Santuary bill) is nothing more than kissing up to the Texas Republican Party base.  It creates horrible public policy, but they don't care about public policy.   They care only about scoring political points with stupid, angry, white, overweight, over-50, gun-totiing males.

pak152
pak152

don't forget the motor voter law this would eliminate illegals from being registered to vote, maybe instead we should develop a drivers license that states across the top of the driver's license that reads " no proof of citizenship provided". you get it removed when you show up with proof. this way illegals get a license it just shows their status

MattL1
MattL1

I agree with the sentiments expressed thus far, but this article reminded me that my license expires in 2 years.  I'm already dreading the visit to the DPS office and the potential hunt for my long-form birth certificate. 

Also, I seem to remember a children's book called "The Eleventh Hour."  Some kind of mystery/puzzle thing...

Gangy
Gangy

If the drivers license offices have long waits for service, even fewer people will vote because they won't have acceptable "Voter ID".  The demographics of Democratic voters indicate that those are the voters most likely to be thwarted by the new law because they are less likely to have the resources to take care of bureaucratic business. 

TimCov
TimCov

Well, I don't really see how it will affect things one way or the other. You already need proof of citizenship/residence to obtain a driver's license. So, if you don't have that proof you couldn't get one anyways. I think the passage of this was just plain stupid. It does not discourage illegal immigration. It will not prevent illegal immigrants from driving. It will make it harder to track them down when they are in an accident. And, it will make it more likely that they don't have insurance when they are in an accident. All this does is give the people behind it something to boast about to idiots who can't think this through.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Any -- the bill signed by the Governor contains no such exemption. 

Stupid White Guy
Stupid White Guy

My daughter (US citizen) was required to show her birth certificate plus her social security card to get her learner's permit this past month. Why should an illegal get special privileges over a US citizen? (commence calling me racist because I don't think illegals should be given favor over ALL OTHER ETHNICITIES in gaining entry into this country in 3, 2, 1..)

BTW, there was someone trying to get an renewal there with no proof of citizenship and the clerk told her that a law passed in 2008 prevented the renewal from being issued so I'm not real sure what the real issue is here other than Demos wanting more political power or racist Latinos wanting undue advantages over other peoples or HEB grocery CEO Butts continually lobbying more cheap labor, etc.

A fair and just immigration system for ALL.

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

Do not go on a Wednesday morning, Matt. Apparently the employees come in late that day for some reason. There were two people working the desk the day I was there, and 9,000 people waiting. (I know it only looks like 50 in the photo, but the other 8,950 were in the bathroom or outside jumping in front of cars).

Storm_71
Storm_71

Well that's wrong in one sence because before you could renew your license on-line. No more, hence the much longer lines. I need to renew mine and I called the dmv. The exact words from the lady on the phone was "take some snacks and a good book because we have waits around 4 or 5 hours". Crazy. I think I am going to drive out to east Texas where I'm from just to keep from waiting that long.

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand

Brenda Marks is posting FALSE information.  The law DOES include the age exclusion.  Those against photo ID are advocates for voter fraud.

Texas voter ID appears to be headed to governor to become law

By TERRENCE STUTZ Published 09 May 2011 11:54 PM

"Excluded from the photo requirement are voters 70 and older as of the end of this year. They will remain under current law and only be asked to show a voter registration card."

http://www.dallasnews.com/news...

Darren Schmits
Darren Schmits

Joe, they probably go in late because that's the one day they are open past 5pm.

TimCov
TimCov

1. The law requires you to have proof if you have not provided proof before (and it has required proof since at least 1986 when I first got my license).2. You are only able to renew your license (even before this law) online every 10 years (I might be wording that poorly). I renewed my license online in 2006 and had to renew it in person last month. If you go to the Garland office and get in line a half hour before they open, you will be out of there a half hour after they open.

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