Georgia Illegal alien driver’s license/ID reform is past due

JeffJones-GAOfficialHeadshot2015Trans4Web.pngby State Rep. Jeff Jones | Dec 6, 2018

For those who are not yet aware, Georgia issues driver’s licenses to non-citizens who, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), do not have legal immigration status.

To increase the “head-scratcher” quotient on this, there is no difference - none - between the driver/ID credentials issued to these lucky illegal aliens and those issued to legal immigrants (green card holders) or foreign students and guest workers who obeyed American law and are here on legal, temporary visas.

While it is illegal for non-citizens to vote in elections in Georgia, state law considers the driver’s licenses and ID Cards we are granting to them to be “proper ID” at our polls.

That’s why I will soon introduce driver’s license/ID reform legislation to change this bizarre situation.

I do not believe – and I have not spoken to many who do believe – that rewarding illegal behavior by officially blurring the lines between legal immigrants and illegal aliens is fair or wise. And It certainly isn’t adding to the public safety of Georgia citizens, or our ballot security.

These drivers licenses and state ID credentials are used as valid ID to enter federal buildings and at our airports to board airliners. As we all see, in 21st century America, the drivers license is our de facto national ID card. Some of the illegal aliens granted these very useful credentials have been convicted of crimes and are under deportation orders. Many others have been granted a deferral on deportation proceedings, most of them by the Obama administration.

Under the Gold Dome, when the details of a subject are difficult to easily or quickly understand, too often that issue is ignored or passed over. Illegal alien driver’s license/ID credential reform should not be put off any longer.

It is important to understand that states have full control and authority over how and to whom they issue driver’s licenses and official ID Cards. It is also imperative to know that federal law (REAL ID Act of 2005) sets certain standards and requirements for states to follow if the state’s credentials are to be accepted for federal ID use. The federal compliance requirements are only related to the federal acceptance as valid ID.

The REAL ID Act says that illegal aliens who have a delay or deferral on deportation can use that temporary condition as evidence of lawful status and may be granted a REAL ID Act compliant driver’s license and/or an official ID card. It is important to understand that the law does not require any state – including Georgia– to do this.

So as to avoid confusion or alternate reality on the facts here, I quote the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

“The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.” (here)

Other states — including Michigan, South Carolina, California, and recently, Massachusetts — issue driver’s licenses that are not intended to be and are not REAL ID Act compliant  along with the compliant documents. There is a visible difference in the two types of cards.California-ID-300x178.jpg

While I join the large majority of Georgians who do not want any illegal aliens to receive any kind of official state ID or drivers license, it is my goal to pass state law that will require the Department of Driver Services to change the design of both the drivers license and ID Card we now distribute to non-citizens who the USCIS says lack legal status.

These credentials would not be acceptable as valid federal ID and would only be good for driving privileges and ID outside of federal authority. This is entirely within the law and the REAL ID Act provides guidelines for this difference in design and purpose.

Among the changes my legislation will propose:

* Vertically orient the credentials issued to non-citizens who lack legal status according to the USCIS. We already do this for Drivers_License_Mock_Up_New_Design_for_individuals_with_no_Legal_Status_per_UCCIS_2018-12-18.JPGAmericans who are under the age of twenty-one.

* Make the credentials issued to these individuals a different design and color from any other credential issued by DDS.

* Clearly mark “NOT FOR FEDERAL USE” on the document.

* Clarify state law on proper ID at Georgia polls.

It is USCIS that issues “work permits” – officially known as Employment Authorization Documents to non-citizens . Each EAD has a code that denotes a category of immigration status. We should use this important federal information for the security of our state ID credentials.

State Rep. Jeff Jones, R-Brunswick, is vice chairman of the House Motor Vehicles Committee.

Showing 8 reactions

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  • Rebecca Lecker
    commented 2019-01-12 06:09:42 -0500
    I was not aware that Georgia issued license to illegal immigrants. It is very sad when I moved here from a different state they required me to show vast amounts of papers to prove I was me. I had to get my proof of residence, a bill with my name on it not my husbands, birth certificate, marriage license, divorce papers, marriage license and so on, it was ridiculous and all they have to show is one paper 😡😡
  • Chuck Lecker
    commented 2019-01-11 13:40:48 -0500
    Well ain’t this a crock of BS? An illegal Alien can get a drivers license without a birth certificate in the United States? No! No! No! I had too and my wife both had to show proof of citizenship by showing birth certificate and proof of address and some!
  • Patti Johnson Thompson
    commented 2019-01-09 22:00:31 -0500
    Anyone that is not a legal citizen should not be allowed to vote in any election, hold any office or own any business in our Federal, State, counties or Cities.
  • Maureen Hanratty
    commented 2018-12-27 07:36:39 -0500
    YES!!! Long overdue!
  • Belinda Wright
    commented 2018-12-26 11:52:13 -0500
    Illegals don’t need IDs they need ICE!!! #deportthemnow
  • D'evanGi Bherrin
    commented 2018-12-25 14:02:35 -0500
    Fair eneough! That will prevent non-citizens from voting.
  • Becky Clark
    commented 2018-12-24 10:57:48 -0500
    I did not know Georgia issued licenses to illegals! I am absolutely outraged! I applaud you Mr. Jones for this bill to denote the difference on the licenses! I do not want an illegal to be able to vote in any election! Voting is a privilege for Americans! If you can’t be bothered to become legal, then you shouldn’t get a vote!
  • Ginny Howell
    commented 2018-12-23 17:33:30 -0500
    It is great to hear some action is being taken in plenty of time prior to the next election so we do not have the issues we had at the time of the previous election. Thank you Jeff for addressing thus problem.