Task Force Recommends Driving Privilege Cards for Undocumented - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Task Force Recommends Driving Privilege Cards for Undocumented

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GEORGETOWN, De. - They're out there driving. Undocumented immigrants are hitting the road without licenses. Now a legislative task force is calling for the state to issue driving privilege cards to qualified immigrants. No bill has been introduced so far, but the general assembly is expected to introduce one in early 2015, when they return to session.

For months the task force has been exploring possible solutions to the undocumented drivers. The final report said that issuing these cards would make it safer on the roadways. This is because undocumented drivers would be able to purchase insurance, and officers would be able to identify more effectively who they are speaking with.

At Jalapeno in Georgetown, owner Victor Paxtor said he thought the change would be a good one. Paxtor is a legal citizen who has a drivers license, but he said this is not the case for many in the area.

"The majority of people here in Georgetown don't have papers," he said in Spanish. "But they need to work and have a life. So they need to drive."

The policy recommended by the task force wouldn't be give the card to all undocumented immigrants. First they would have to pass a written test, an eye test, a road test, and they would have to show two years of tax returns. These cards would show that the person is driving legally, however it would not be accepted for any other identification purpose. 

Paxtor said that change would help many families in the area.

"There are young people that have papers as Americans," he said. "They are full citizens. But their parents don't have any. So this makes life more difficult. Because it says the kids have rights, but the parents have absolutely no rights."

One of those undocumented immigrants is Angel Ramos Otuc, who was at Jalapeno Tuesday afternoon, where he was eating with his family. He said that currently he lives in fear of a late-night sickness, where he would have to choose between following the law or driving his daughter to the hospital.

"There are many risks," he said in Spanish. "Because all of a sudden we can be stopped by police. So one moves with fear when driving. But if one had a license, they would travel differently - with more security."

But many, especially in the Republican party say they are concerned. Former GOP Spokesman, and strategist Duke Brooks, said cost is one concern. Even more important though, he said it would be unfair to reward people who broke the law.

"Issuing a driver's license to someone that's here in the first place not legitimately and not lawfully," he said. "Confers upon them some degree of legitimacy that I think frankly they don't deserve."

Brooks also said that this creates some confusing contradictions between state and federal law.

"If you come here into the United States," he said. "And you have not done it lawfully - then for a state, a city, or anything to then countermand what the federal government mandate is - and to say 'no we're going to let you stay here.' This is a really confusing message."

Questions still remain about how the program would work. For example, whether they would have to get background checks or submit fingerprints still remains to be seen.

To see another story, where WBOC speaks with elected leaders about the task force, you can visit: http://www.wboc.com/story/27707609/del-panel-undocumented-immigrants-should-have-driving-privilege-cards.
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