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Drivers License Details

Hillary Clinton came under fire for waffling on whether she supports giving drivers licenses to "illegals." In all the back and forth, the debate never covered a broader issue: there are more than two categories of people in the United States.

For example, the international students and scholars legally living in Michigan are now barred from obtaining licenses. Here’s an email that the Office for International Students and Scholars at Michigan State sent to their visiting students:

"It is with regret that I write to inform you that international students and scholars are, for the time being, unable to obtain State of Michigan driver’s licenses. The Michigan Secretary of State’s office has just established new requirements for obtaining a Michigan driver’s license or a State of Michigan Identification Card. Effective immediately, anyone applying for a Michigan driver’s license or State I.D. card will have to present proof that s/he is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green cardholder) of the United States."

New rules passed to prevent the issuance of licenses to undocumented immigrants failed to consider that there are other categories of legal status besides citizen and permanent resident. A quick check online shows that there are a couple of hundred or so Michigan colleges and universities.

Meanwhile, in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, the councilman who pushed his Dallas suburb’s efforts to pass one of the country’s most sweeping anti-illegal immigration measures is running for mayor. The AP reports that Council members unanimously passed a November 2006 ordinance barring apartment rentals to illegal immigrants, and approved a new law Tuesday to require prospective tenants to get a city license to rent houses and apartments.

Yes, a license to become a tenant.

Out west in California, the Governator takes a broader view of illegal entrants than do other Republicans: "It’s the only way they can get in here. It’s not like you can stand in line and wait a few days and then you can get in. There’s no way. There is a system that has been created on purpose to look the other way and to bring them in because everyone knows that we cannot function without them."

And, at the intersection of church and state in Utah, Rep. David Litvack (D-Salt Lake City) who met on Jan. 11 with Latter Day Saints Apostle M. Russell Ballard and other Mormon church officials, urged compassion: "The basic message was that we need to step back, not be so reactive and let cooler heads prevail. The anti-immigrant community has become hateful and vilifies all undocumented workers. The LDS leaders said, in essence, ‘We must remember that we are talking about human beings.’"

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