Senate rejects amendment denying immigrant drivers’ licenses

[private]The state Senate defeated an attempt to prohibit immigrants who have been granted deferred status under President Obama’s executive order from obtaining a Georgia drivers’ license.

Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) attempted to add the anti-immigrant provision to a bill (HB 118) dealing with the issuance of commercial drivers’ licenses for truckers.

The Senate voted down McKoon’s amendment and then passed the original bill.

McKoon introduced a bill earlier in the session, SB 6, that would have prohibited immigrants granted deferred status by the president’s executive order from being issued a drivers’ license. These are immigrants who were originally brought to the U.S. by parents who were undocumented.

McKoon’s bill did not make it out of committee, so he tried to get it through the Senate as an amendment instead.

“Someone who’s here illegally, who’s been granted deferred status by executive order, does not have legal status in this state,” McKoon contended. “We could see over 100,000 drivers’ licenses issued to persons who are in this country illegally.”

Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) said McKoon was “going after college students, young people, people in the military, to make them the whipping boy for your ax to grind because one branch of the government is doing something you don’t like on immigration.”

Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), who employs a chef in his restaurant who has been granted deferred status, also criticized McKoon’s amendment.

“What am I going to tell him?” Williams asked. “Move to another state – we don’t want you here because your daddy should not have brought you here and we’re going to punish you for what he did.”

“These kids didn’t come here of their own accord — they were brought here by their parents,” Williams said. “They really don’t know where to go back to. What this amendment does is, it punishes those kids for the sins of their fathers.”

The Senate voted 27-16 to defeat McKoon’s amendment.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Curt Thompson , DACA , driver\'s licenses , immigrants , Josh McKoon , Tommie Williams