Senate kills driver’s licenses for young immigrants

[private]The Georgia Senate voted 37-17 Monday for legislation – SB 6 – that would prohibit the issuance of driver’s licenses to immigrants who reside in Georgia through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The bill would require DACA residents instead to get a “driver safety card” that is not an official license but would allow them to drive on the state’s highways; fingerprints would be required before the card is issued. The card could not be used for ID verification or for voter registration purposes.

Under current law, DACA residents can obtain driver’s licenses that include the words “Limited Term,” but those licenses would no longer be issued if SB 6 becomes law.

Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) said he introduced the bill to “reinforce the rule of law” and said the special driving card would deter “voter fraud” and possible “terrorist attacks” on government buildings because immigrants would not have official driver’s licenses.

Critics of the bill said it was really an attempt to punish Latino immigrants for political purposes.

“We are doing this because there are those in the hall who don’t like brown people,” Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) said. “It is a lot more about show than it is about substance.”

“This is simply an effort to stigmatize people for political advantage,” Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) said. “You’re trying to stigmatize people who were victims in the first place.”

“It’s just a clarity issue,” said Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna). “I don’t think it’s going to stigmatize anybody.”

SB 6 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

The Senate also voted 39-14 to pass SR 675, a constitutional amendment sponsored by McKoon that would declare English to be the “official language” of Georgia.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: DACA , driver's license , immigrants , Josh McKoon , Tommie Williams