Driving permits for undocumented immigrants hotly-debated - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Driving permits for undocumented immigrants a hotly-debated topic

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The phrase, Texas House Bill 3206, may not be exciting enough to catch your attention, but the details of the bill certainly sparked a passionate debate on our FOX 26 Facebook fan page.

"I think what this does is it stirs a different debate, which is immigration legislation," said Beto Cardenas, a Houston attorney and immigration reform expert. " That is separate from this."

If approved, the bill would allow undocumented immigrants living in Texas to get drivers permits and renew their licenses. Current law requires everyone, except those who were brought here as children and covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, to prove their legal status.

Supporters say the bill would force undocumented immigrants to buy insurance, since proof is required for renewal. Those against it say giving an official government identification card to someone who broke the law to get here would jeopardize national security.

The bill was authored by Dallas democrat Robert Alonzo with the help of Corsicana Republican Byron Cook.

But the bipartisan effort is still sparking heated arguments on both sides.

Within hours, thousands left comments both in support and against the bill on our Fox 26 Houston Facebook page.

Among them, Jason Michael Williamson wrote, "As a police officer, I say it would be a great idea. As long as they are being productive members of society, issuing them a driver's license would offer a way of tracking them."

Tom Sawyer wrote, "Only if they can speak English, understand English and can pass a driving test. If these three can't be met, then no to a permit."

The big question: will it pass? We asked Cardenas ,who served as general counsel to former United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, advising her on judicial appointments, legal affairs, and legislative matters including immigration reform.

"I don't know," Cardenas said. " I think that no bill is perfect when introduced. Every bill you can amend and so I would hope a majority of leaders in the Texas legislature would look at a way to address the issue which is having safer drivers safer roads in Texas."

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