Some states like Arizona began issuing drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, but Mississippi isn't one of those states. In fact, the state displays "Non-US Citizen Driver License" in big red letters to let law enforcement know the status of the individual's citizenship. The practice has led to some immigrants like Abigail Piña Mandujano to carry her visa with her whenever she drives to fend-off questions of her legal status.
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Mandujano is an illegal immigrant brought to the U.S. when she was 3, she remains in America under Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects illegals from deportation who were brought to the country as minors. "Down here we have a lot of roadblocks, and the officers will question me, and I've had to actually start carrying my visa because some of them will ask for it," she said.
When Mandujano turned 18 in 2013, she noticed her drivers' license looks different than her fellow DACA recipients. Mississippi is a state that has decided to indicate citizenship status on drivers' licenses. Amelia McGowan, an immigration attorney at the Catholic Charities Migrant Support Center in Jackson, says she is unaware of another state with the same practice.
"We have a number of clients who apply for driver's licenses," according to McGowan. "You have to have immigration status … to get a driver's license, so if you are undocumented you cannot get a license in the Mississippi." The DPS website says, "If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you must meet all other requirements for obtaining an operator's license or identification card except for providing a Social Security card."
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While some states allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses, Mississippi has taken a tougher stance on the matter and even prominently displays when a licensed driver is not a citizen. The Department of Public Safety's policy states, "Out-of-Country and Non-US Citizens License and ID Applicants policy, which was most recently updated in November 2013. The policy shows that the "Non-US Citizen" demarcation is required."
"All applicants who are Non-US Citizens must be issued a credential marked 'Non-US Citizen,'" the policy says. Perhaps this should position should be adopted across the country, especially where states and sanctuary cities bend the rules and provide services to illegals meant to benefit legal citizens.
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