After California enacted a new law earlier this year, illegal residents became eligible to obtain a driver’s license. The California Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 397,000 drivers licenses were issued to illegal residents for the first six months of this year. In Tennessee , a illegal resident is prohibited from obtaining a Tennessee driver’s license.
Tennessee needs to follow California’s example. Thousands of illegal residents live and work in Tennessee. There exists a double standard. Businesses hire illegal residents to work. Yet, it is not acceptable to allow them to apply for a license. Take a visit to Court Room 1A in the A. A. Birch Building in Nashville where the criminal citations are handled.. You will see the courtroom flooded with folks. Their only crime is driving without a valid Tennessee license. Police officers issue criminal citations. Judges, public defenders , prosecutors , and translators work to process the cases. Resources wasted.
Supporters of the California law argue that allowing illegal residents to apply for a driver’s license makes the roads safer. One has to pass a test and take a driving test. Now, folks drive without any testing. If one had a license , maybe the streets would be safer.
I know it is just wishful thinking, but it is time the Tennessee Legislature tackles this issue. I know it is unpopular with certain segments of the population. It is the right thing to do.