Civil Rights Group Sues Texas DPS Over License Rule

January 16, 2009

Civil rights advocates are suing the Texas Department of Public Safety to block new driver’s license requirements for immigrants, contending they discriminate against people legally in the United States.

The lawsuit filed in state district court seeks to force DPS to stop enforcing the rules, which went into effect Oct. 1.

Jim Harrington, the group’s director, called the rules “an unconscionable burden on immigrant survivors of domestic abuse and discriminatory against the Hispanic community.”

The new rules require non-citizens to show official work authorization proof in the form of an official employment authorization document every six months to renew their licenses.

Supporters of the new policy, including Gov. Rick Perry, say the rules were designed to keep illegal immigrants from getting licenses and fight fraud and identity theft.

The suit was filed on behalf of three women, all legally working in the United States, who have been denied or likely will be denied license renewals because the DPS doesn’t accept their work authorization status.

Two of the plaintiffs are Sonia Castillo, a Mexican national who lives in Austin, and Jocelyn Alvarez Torres, a Mexican national living in Mount Pleasant. Victims of domestic abuse, they are in this country legally under the federal Violence Against Woman Act, Harrington said.

The third plaintiff, identified only as “Jane Doe,” is a political refugee from Honduras living in Houston.

Information from the Houston Chronicle:

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.