New Driver License Regulations Sideline Immigrants

Al Muñiz, Catholic Family Services
Al Muñiz, Catholic Family Services

The Texas Department of Public Safety now requires all Non-US citizens to prove they are in the country legally.

They say 2 million people in the state could lose their driver's license if they cannot provide the required documentation. Non-US citizens will receive a vertical version of the license with two red marks that say "temporary license."

According to Tom Vinger, Texas DPS spokesman, these guidelines could help prevent another terrorist attack in the United States.

"It all stems from 9/11," Vinger said. "Document requirements have strengthened across the board in many states across the country."

At the time of the attacks,  9/11 terrorists had expired visas. Still, they were able to travel within the US because they had valid driver's licenses.

"Someone can present the documents at the beginning and wouldn't have to come back to prove they were in the country legally," Vinger said about the old system. "And so that driver's license gave them access to all kinds of things in our society. So there were some security concerns about that."

But local immigrants have different concerns.

"They are scared," said Al Muñiz, immigration counselor at Catholic Family Services. "They are scared because they think that if they have a mark in their Driver's License and they have a problem, they will be deported immediately."

Muñiz says the new regulations will not keep immigrants from entering the country.

"What will happen is they will look for some way to get a driver's license, somewhere else," Muñiz said. "I don't know how they are getting the information, but some states are giving the license without any problems and that is what they will look for."

Driver's license regulations differ from state to state. Each state can decide how it will issue licenses to the people that live there.

For more information on the new regulations and the documents you need to provide visit: