By Linda Vega & Alex Gonzalez
There is new Bill ( SB 1729) in the Texas Legislature to allow undocumented workers in the state to obtain driver licenses. As a Matter of Public Policy, the bill gives licenses to those who, with or without a license, must drive to work. Texas has one of the largest rural areas in nation, and Latinos immigrants–legal and undocumented–are the largest groups in construction, agriculture and restaurants. Therefore, the bill brings the much needed safety to Texas roads by mandating driving courses and insurance; and therefore is good public policy that should be embraced by Republicans.
As a matter of Politics, two months ago we personally met with two Latino legislators and sent the bill to them to encourage them to introduce it. As matter of politics, we argued that it was important for the only three Latino Republicans to show they wanted to tackle issues important to Latino community; and therefore, the bill must be introduced by Latino GOP to revamp the ill-perceived image of Republicans within Latino immigrant communities, and with the Spanish-Speaking Media. The GOP has introduced good education policies that benefits Latinos but this gets lost in media war for attention and Latino Republican never talk about these positive education bills.
Thus, the problem with Latinos was more of an image or PR problem. Moreover the contentious issue of redistricting will be on the agenda again this session; so Republicans needed to have some legislation on record to counter any attacks by Democrats who tend to argue that the GOP always antagonize Latino communities. We argue that An immigrant-friendly bill introduce by a Latino Republican would soften any blow by the Democrat and would be good way to repair the GOP image and simultaneously give room the Latino Republican to promote the other Republican bills within the Hispanic community.
Well, the bill was introduced by a Democrat and now possibly by “Anglo” Republicans, is now being considered, even by Gov. Perry, and the Democrats will get all the credit.
Here is the text of the Draft we share with the Latino Republican Legislators, which includes the recommendations needed to comply with the REAL ID Legislation used in other state like Washington, Utah, New Mexico and now Illinois.
The Non-Alien Driving Permit (NADP) Bill
Texas is large state with several rural counties who are in need of laborers many of whom have ineffective transportation, eg. Public transportation. Therefore, a private automobile is the only means of transportation for workers, both legal and without work authorization, to get to their worksite. However, an untrained driver without work authorization cannot be required to take driving education courses, nor can they be certified to operate a motor vehicle since by cannot provide a Security Number or an Alien Registration card that would allow them to enroll in such courses. The Non-Alien Driving Permit or the NADP will offer a working Permit, not a driving license, to those without an “alien” status and who are not able to apply for a regular driver’s license. The NADP will give them the opportunity to submit to state DPS driving regulations, background check, and complete their training manual.
The requirements For The NADP are:
- Those applying without a Social Security must submit to a background check to prevent any non-immigrant worker with a criminal record from getting driving permits.
- If you are not eligible for a social security number, the following are accepted by DPS as proof of identity:
– Original or certified copy of a foreign birth certificate
with a notarized English translation.
– Matricula Consular or ID card issued by the Mexican Consulates in the state of Texas, or – Valid passport issued by a country of citizenship.
- government-issued documents from states labeled, by the State Department as “states sponsors of terrorism” will NOT be admitted under the NADP
- Those applying without a Social Security MUST also submit proof of Texas residency. An a Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
- The following are accepted by DPS as proof of Texas Residency (document must not be more than three months old and have a current physical address) DPS agents may accept no more than one document from each category below:
– Insurance bill, we accept the following:
Automobile insurance bill, Home Owner’s/Rental insurance bill, Health insurance bill, Life Insurance bill
– Bank or Credit Union statement
– Employment pay stub that contains the applicant’s name and address
– A local property tax statement or mortgage document
– Proof of minor child enrolled in a Texas public, private, or tribal school, we accept the following: School enrollment form, Letter signed by school official on school letterhead
– Current valid motor vehicle registration
– Original documents from a Texas community organization, or from a city, county, state, tribal or federal government organization, attesting to the fact that the applicant is a Texas resident
– Texas medical assistance card or public assistance card
- If you are under 18 years of age, the following additional documents are accepted by DMV as proof of residency (document must not be more than three months old):- Proof of enrollment in a Texas public, private or tribal school
– Documents from membership in a Texas religious organization
- Any full implementation of the Real I.D. federal legislation–still pending for implementation, will not interfere with the NADP since Texas will NOT issue state ID, or regular driver licenses that can be used to board planes, and thus in compliance with any federal regulation.
- Any fees accrued for criminal background check will be paid by applicants at beginning of application process.
- Fingerprints Must be obtained and placed into a sealed envelope at a criminal state agency and submitted to DPS.