A Republican lawmaker from Columbus wants to prevent illegal immigrants with deferred action status from getting a Georgia driver’s license.
Sen. Josh McKoon filed the legislation this week that would also invalidate the licenses of the 15,000 who have received them in Georgia since President Barack Obama enacted the policy in 2012.
“Georgia law was clearly written to make sure that illegal immigrants were not issued driver’s licenses,” says McKoon. “But the President took this rather unprecedented action that suddenly made people who would have never have qualified in the past eligible under the current text of the Georgia law.”
If passed, the new law would affect 23-year-old Estela Martinez who moved to Cobb County with her parents from Mexico when she was 9. She received a driver’s license for the first time three years ago.
“It’s just made life a whole lot easier,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
As a paralegal student at Kennesaw State University, Martinez needs her license to drive to and from class and also to take her sisters to school. She also does the grocery shopping for her mother.
“It has given the opportunity to many of us, who didn’t have a choice, to prove to the United States that we are good citizens… that we’re trying to do everything we can to be a good, upstanding person,” she says.
McKoon’s bill would also allow the Department of Driver Services to obtain DNA or a retinal scan from anyone seeking a temporary license, permit, or special ID.
Vehicles could also be seized for up to 60 days for anyone caught driving without a license under the measure.