Bills Set Requirements for Undocumented Immigrants to Drive

Bills Set Requirements for Undocumented Immigrants to Drive

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Undocumented immigrants wanting a driver's license would have to provide thumbprints, pay a monthly fee and attend English and U.S. government classes under two bills in the Utah House.

House Bills 130 and 316, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Tilton, R-Springville, are among five pieces of legislation proposed to limit or ban undocumented immigrants from obtaining a driver license.

An audit released earlier this week said Utah has issued more than 58,000 driver licenses and 37,000 personal identification cards to people illegal immigrants. Some legislators worry undocumented immigrants have been using the state's driver licenses to register to vote and to travel on airplanes.

Tilton's bills would have an undocumented immigrant database created and maintained by a private company.

The drivers' licenses issued to undocumented immigrants could be used only for driving -- not for identification. To maintain that license, the person would have to pay a $25 to $50 monthly fee and take a monthly class.

Tilton said the fees would offset the costs for state-provided education and health care.

Dani Eyer of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah said the proposals are counter to the Bill of Rights, "which applies to every person in the United States, not every citizen."

She said the bills would violate the immigrants' privacy by constituting "private surveillance for the government for profit."

The bipartisan Utah Hispanic Legislative Task Force won't support Tilton's legislation, co-chairwoman Luz Robles said.

She said the task force had concerns about oversight and the fees seem excessive.

The Task Force did decide Thursday to "reluctantly support" another driver's license bill, SB227, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo.

That bill would repeal Utah's law allowing illegal immigrants to get drivers' licenses, and would require them to instead obtain a driving card that could not be used for any identification purposes.

Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, has introduced a bill that would give legal residents who aren't eligible to work, such as those on student visas or foreign workers at Hill Air Force Base, a way to get a driver's license. Oda's bill unanimously passed out of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee Thursday.

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

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