Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Utah Drivers License Renewal: There Must be a Better Way to Do It

Recent legislation borders on the ridiculous and makes one question whether it’s worth it to live in Utah

By Dorrene Jeske

Usually I quite enjoy Charlie Trentelman’s columns, but today he "missed the boat” and jumped on the wrong bandwagon because of a co-worker’s outrage over the very bad driver’s license legislation passed by Utah legislators this year. In his article, “More fallout from ‘The List,’,” he blames those who mailed the infamous “illegal aliens list":
More fallout from 'The List' and how to help bored troops
Being a very astute person, I’m sure that Mr. Trentelman is aware that hundreds of thousands of people have had their I.D. compromised due to banking and credit card companies errors where that information was made available to unknown eyes. But because it is the popular thing to do in Utah at the moment, he jumped on Utah’s “Beat-up on the State employees” who unwisely distributed personal information and forget that many on that list are also guilty of breaking laws bandwagon.

When the Legislature in their role of playing God, dreamed up that nightmarish bill, they opened a can of worms that hasn’t yet revealed the potential havoc and disruption of citizens’ lives that is sure to surface. We have already experienced a piece of that nightmare. In June, my husband and I went to the Social Security Office to apply for new social security cards because after 50 years of marriage and several moves, I have no idea where our original SS cards are. I had no problem obtaining my card because I had my birth certificate, but it was a different story for my husband. He was born in Germany just before Hitler declared war on the world. All family records were destroyed in a fire during the war and all he has are some church documents and his passport issued when he and his family migrated to the U.S. legally in June of 1954. He also has his U.S. naturalization document when he became a citizen of the U.S. March 11, 1964 (our 4th wedding anniversary). He took this document to the Social Security Office because it also has his date of birth. In the meantime, INS has changed its naturalization certificate, and the young lady at the Social Security Office had never seen a certificate like his. She said that she would have to send it to be reviewed and determine its authenticity. A few weeks later, (I had received my new card) my husband received a letter from the SSA stating that they were researching the naturalization certificate and if they did not find it to be authentic, then he would need to resign from any job he had, and work with the Federal government to prove that he was in the U.S. legally. They did not say that he would be deported, but he would not be able to have a regular driver license, and could not enjoy many of the privileges that he has earned as a legal citizen of the U.S.

Of course, with my active imagination and luck, I could just see INS raising all kinds of problems for us and making us prove that he had entered the U.S. legally. I’m glad to say that he just received his social security card this week.

The Legislature needs to revisit this very bad piece of legislation. I understand their intent in passing it, but instead of stopping illegal immigrants from obtaining driver licenses (there are always forgers to give them the fake papers that they need), they are harassing citizens and making our lives miserable in order to obtain a driver’s license. People who live out of state cannot believe that we are required to prove our address with a utility bill, show our Social Security card, birth certificate and marriage certificate.

I’ve always been grateful that I live in Utah and wouldn’t consider living any place else, but this legislation borders on the ridiculous and makes one question whether it’s worth it to live in Utah.

So, Charlie, ask your co-worker if it isn’t this new requirement that has her upset. We all know that our personal information can be compromised at any time because there are corrupt and evil people who will find ways to get around the security used by financial and government agencies. And I hope the Legislature comes to their senses and can come up with a better way to control the illegals living in our State without harassing the citizens.


Curmudgeon said...

The difference, Dorrene, is this: when you give a bank or credit card company your personal information [DOB, SSN, mother's maiden name, etc.] you do so voluntarily. However, the information you supply to the DMV to get a driver's licence or state ID or to the FedGov to get a SSN or Medicare Card is not really supplied voluntarily [as your husband discovered]. It's required. Try cashing a check or getting on a plane without a government-issued ID [usually a driver's license]. That's what makes those state employees releasing those lists with all that personal information on them so dangerous, with --- as Charlie noted --- one fallout being people like his coworker and I suspect many others becoming much less willing to provide information that should be, because we are required to supply it to a government agency, far far more secure than information we voluntarily provide private businesses because we want to buy the services they offer [credit cards, etc.]

Easier here said...

For drivers license in another state treating you as an adult I did have to show a passport or birth certificate and pass a written test. They gave me a temporary license with my photo good for 30 days and sent my real license to my home address, thus making sure I had a physical address and a home. This assured me that fake addresses were not being used just to get a license.
License was good for 8 years too.
DMV here is also open on Saturdays.

Tired said...

The new law is also fiscally irresponsible. With all the extra work required by this law, that means more money spent and out the door. The drivers license offices have been swarmed with people waiting in long lines, having to return the next day because they didn't make it to the end of the line. Wasteful. Republicans are not fiscally responsible. Stop voting for these idiots people! The deficit sky rockets whenever Republicans are in control. You want fiscal responsibility? Then stop voting Republican. It really is that simple. I hate to say it. You Utahns need to get over living the Republican lie and embrace reality. Things will go a lot more smoothly if you do.

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