Friday, February 22, 2013

The New Non-US Citizen Driver Licence

All non-US citizens, including legal immigrants with a Green Card, will be branded as a non-US resident on the new North Carolina driver licence. Read more here.  Not content to merely point out non-US citizens by issuing a vertical type licence with a pink colour instead of blue, it is watermarked with the words "DEFERRED ACTION", contains the phrase "LIMITED TERM" in red on the right, and "NO LAWFUL STATUS" in red at the bottom. 

How would this work for any non-US citizen with legal status attempting to gain employment, buy a home, fly, attend university, not to mention if they are pulled over by the police who are now “immigration agents” who are required to detain and report to ICE those without lawful status pending being sent to an "Immigration Detention Center".

Legal immigrants are usually not under threat of deportation, so the words DEFERRED ACTION are an insult. They do have LAWFUL STATUS, so the phrase NO LAWFUL STATUS, together with LIMITED TERM are not only incorrect, but will make their lives especially hard.  

While many states, including Florida, are usually branded in some way to show who is a US citizen, and who is not, this is the most outrageous and unwelcoming style of driver licence yet.  I'm sure many states will like it and follow suit. 

This will contribute to the sense of disconnect immigrants are feeling with the rest of American society, and a  contributing factor to the reverse brain drain.  Talented immigrants who start businesses and provide jobs for Americans are leaving in large numbers for their home countries.  Some Americans are short-sighted enough to think this is a good thing.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I’ve been suspended from driving in Florida – again!

I’ve been suspended from driving in Florida, for the second time. 


No, I haven’t broken any laws.  My crime – I’m a Canadian citizen!  Oh wait, it get’s better.

My American born husband is now suspended from driving in Florida because – He lives in Canada and has an Ontario driver licence.

Apparently, Florida law enforcement are unable to understand non-American issued driver licenses.  The last time I checked, Ontario driver licenses were in English, as are British, Australia, etc etc.

In order to drive in Florida, we have to shell out $40.00 plus tax for each member of our family who wishes to drive.  ($25.00 for a Canadian issued International Driving Permit, plus $15.00 for passport photos) .  Question, if you cannot understand a Canadian issued provincial driving licence in English, how can you understand a Canadian issued International driving permit, in English.  The last time I checked, international driving licences were not standard.  Each country issues a different style international driving permit.  Oh you need it translated into English, jeesh, now I get it!

There are 3 reasons this law was passed.

1.       You could say this is just a money grab by the state of Florida, but I’m not so sure.  This law quietly went into effect in January 1st, and no one noticed until a British journalist spotted it this week.  If it was a money grab, it would have been promoted to ensure that everybody paid.  Better still, the money for international driving permits is collected by the home countries, NOT the State of Florida. Florida gets zip.  So – is it a money grab – NO!

2.       To keep the roads of Florida safe.  How many tourists are paying black market prices to forge a foreign driving license and then travelling to Florida to use it?  Probably none!

3.       Door number 3.  Ding Ding Ding!  The real reason for this is the State of Florida is now totally xenophobic.   This is designed to stop illegal immigrants from driving in Florida.  International driving licences are only available to people who are travelling, those who are living in Florida (as I found out the first time I was suspended from driving in Florida).  You cannot obtain an international driving licence if you do not reside in your country of origin.

Oh, and the snowbirds who are already in Florida for the season – no one bothered to mention to them that their Canadian licenses are no good – and they need to be in Canada to apply for an international driving permit – so they are all driving without valid licenses in the State of Florida this year.   

One more interesting point. Their insurance will be invalid if they get into an accident.

Checkmate! – we now have more unlicensed (and uninsured) drivers on the road in Florida than ever before.   

Florida doesn’t rely on tourism, does it?  I hope not, because Canadians and British are angry, and are cancelling their plans to travel to Florida this year.