Monday, April 29, 2013

The 'No Birth Certificate' Bill Scare

A Texas bill that would allegedly end the requirement for producing a birth certificate to get a state ID or drivers license was left dead in committee. However, some "favorable substitutions" performed CPR on the bill. The committee is now reconsidering the revised version.

Several conservatives in Texas received emails recently meant to alarm them over HB 3206. Those emails contained some interesting articles regarding illegals driving in the US.

HB 3206 is a comprehensive bill concerning motor vehicle laws in Texas. It covers several topics, including what proof of identification is required to obtain a state ID or Drivers license.

relating to the public safety by ensuring all drivers in the state of Texas are licensed pursuant to state law and to encourage all drivers to stop and render aid at the scene of an accident, to prevent the abandonment of the scene of an accident, and to prevent uninsured use of a motor vehicle; relating further to the security of the state that all inhabitants are identifiable.

The "ID Bill" strikes this portion from current Texas law:
 (d 1)     Unless the information has been previously provided to the department, the department shall require each applicant for an original, renewal, or duplicate personal identification certificate to furnish to the department: 
             (1)     proof of the applicant's United States citizenship; or 
             (2)  documentation described by Subsection (f 2).

 However, it would, for example, add the following:

             (1)  for an applicant who is a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States or a refugee or asylee lawfully admitted into the United States: 
                   (A)  expires on a date specified by the department if the applicant is younger than 60 years of age; or 
                   (B)  does not expire if the applicant is 60 years of age or older; or 
             (2)  for an applicant not described by Subdivision (1), expires on: 
                   (A)the earlier of: 
                         (i)a date specified by the department; or 
                         (ii)  the expiration date of the applicant's authorized stay in the United States; or 
                   (B)  the first anniversary of the date of issuance, if there is no definite expiration date for the applicant's authorized stay in the United States[, except that a except that a certificate issued to a person 60 years of age or older does not expire] . 
       (f 2)  An applicant who is not a citizen of the United States must present to the department documentation issued by the appropriate United States agency that authorizes the applicant to be in the United States.

Reading through the whole bill, available here, will bring further examples of how the bill could actually close loopholes and better regulate the issuance of state identification and drivers licenses.

The chief concern regarding the bill is the new electronic voter registration bills the Texas 83rd legislature is considering. The new voter registration law, if passed, will allow Texas citizens to register to vote online using their state identification or drivers license number.

The alarm is that not requiring proof of citizenship will lead to illegal immigrants acquiring state-issued identification that would legitimize their residency and allow them to vote illegally. Currently, those who have identification have acquired it through forgery and identity theft.

The bill allows for other forms of proof of residency than a birth certificate. The bill contained provisions for registered, legal immigrants or foreigners in Texas on student or other visas for an extended period of time to acquire restricted drivers licenses. These licenses would expire when the visa terminated. In order to renew, the individuals would have to present proof of the extension or naturalization. If they could not do so, their license or ID card would be expired.

The bill makes it more difficult for non-citizens to get state IDs or DLs without proof of visitation or immigration status. It also places stricter record-keeping requirements on Texas Department of Public Safety and Secretary of State administrators.  Those agencies as well as the State Department of Transportation must maintain accurate and timely records of the immigration and citizenship status of each ID card and DL applicant, to include those denied such applications.

In essence, the bill would have helped reform immigration problems where those immigrating legally get trapped in bureaucratic red tape. In those particular cases, some legal immigrants become "illegal" when those visas run out and they are not informed. Under this bill, they would have that date on their ID card.