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Posted at 7:08 PM ET, 09/10/2010

Virginia's flawed ID policy

By Lisa Johnson-Firth

By Lisa Johnson-Firth,

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s ill-conceived and shocking policy not to accept federal employment authorization document (EAD) cards as proof of legal presence for getting a driver’s license [Metro, Sept. 8] will strip thousands of legal immigrants of their ability to drive.

Virginia will experience an exodus of hardworking individuals and families that will cripple communities and schools and further damage our sluggish economy. The lawful immigrants who stay will be forced to choose between driving without a license (and therefore without insurance) or giving up critical activities such as work or taking their children to the doctor.

EAD cards are federally approved identification and are accepted for employment eligibility verification. If an employer refused to accept a validly issued EAD card, it could be grounds for an employment discrimination lawsuit. By this policy change, which should be revoked immediately, Virginia is discriminating against a large class of immigrants legally present and entitled to a license. Further, Virginia is treading on federal preemption territory by its arbitrary decision that a federally issued document is suspect. The lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles are long enough — do we really want low-level state employees questioning and going behind the validity of a federally issued document? The answer is no.

The writer is a lawyer with an immigration and human rights law firm.

By Lisa Johnson-Firth  | September 10, 2010; 7:08 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia  
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