Forty Percent of ID Expiration Notices Returned as Undeliverable

Forty Percent of ID Expiration Notices Returned as Undeliverable

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- More than 40 percent of the expiration notices mailed to holders of a state ID card are being returned as undeliverable.

The cards were issued to people who did not have a Social Security card, but are expiring under a bill approved earlier this year.

State Department of Public Safety spokesman Lt. Doug McCleve said the state will be taking a close look at why the notices are being returned.

"We need to look at that and determine why it's happening and if there's any criminal responsibility," he said.

The new legislation, SB227, repealed a 1999 law allowing an undocumented immigrant to obtain a Utah driver's license using an individual tax identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service to those who don't qualify for Social Security numbers.

The bill created a driving privilege card that can't be used for identification.

Some 61,000 drivers' licenses issued to people with tax numbers will expire on their first birthday after July 1, McCleve said.

The notices were sent out to inform those with state ID cards or drivers' licenses but no Social Security numbers of the deadline.

So far, some 5,280 driving privilege cards have been issued since the state stopped issuing state IDs and drivers' licenses to undocumented immigrants in early March, McCleve said.

A separate bill makes the driving privilege card available to legal residents who don't have a work purpose, such as those with student visas, on July 1.

Sponsoring Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said he would not be surprised if the public safety investigation had results similar to a legislative audit's finding that many licenses were linked to the same or similar addresses.

The audit found addresses appeared to be used by "contractors" who charged a fee for helping undocumented aliens obtain a Utah driver's license. The audit also said 14 people who appeared to be undocumented had voted in an election.

"It doesn't surprise me that a significant number of ID cards' mailing addresses came back undeliverable," Bramble said. "That seems intuitive, given what we found because of the audit. ... The issue was resolved through (SB227)."

Latino community activist Tony Yapias said he's not surprised that so many letters would be returned, especially since many undocumented workers have seasonal jobs such as farming or construction.

"People move around a lot. That's one of the biggest factors in our community," he said. "We have people that move depending on where the jobs are, even if it's within the valley. ... They try to live near where their employment places are."

Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement board member Russell Sias said the investigation, like the audit, "fits with what we understand is happening. People are arriving here, getting their paperwork in order, and leaving for another state with a bona fide driver's license."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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