Posted on March 3, 2005

Immigrant Activists Upset Over Utah Bill

Leon D’Souza, AP, mar. 3

SALT LAKE CITY — Immigrant rights activists are angry about a bill requiring undocumented workers to hand over their driver licenses for driving “privilege” cards. One even compared the legislation to the marking of Jews during the Holocaust.

The card, according to the bill passed Wednesday by the Legislature, could not be used as identification to board a plane, open a bank account or obtain a driver’s license in another state. It would have to be renewed annually and would be a different color than Utah’s regular blue driver’s license and be printed with the words “FOR DRIVING PRIVILEGES ONLY — NOT VALID FOR IDENTIFICATION.”

Hundreds of activists and immigrants quietly demonstrated at the Capitol while legislators debated and passed the proposal. Gov. Jon Huntsman is expected to sign the bill, which was modeled after legislation passed in Tennessee last year.

Leo Bravo, of the Hispanic Center of Cache Valley in northern Utah, argues that the measure singles out undocumented workers because they are foreigners.

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“I thought he would be good for the community,” said Bravo, who supported Huntsman for office. “You remember the time of the Jews and Nazis? They were marked. I hope he doesn’t betray me.”

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