AP, July 27, 2006
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina residents would have to provide a Social Security number to get a driver’s license under a bill adopted by the General Assembly on Wednesday.
Lawmakers placed the provision in a 61-page “technical corrections” bill first filed in 2005. That measure, which re-emerged Wednesday night, has a section that changes the state’s license law to mandate that the Division of Motor Vehicles cannot issue a driver’s license unless the applicant provides a valid Social Security number.
“This is an important improvement,” said Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham. “But I still wonder about all the licenses that have already been issued to this point.”
Berger is among those concerned that North Carolina’s driver’s license is popular among undocumented workers. Anyone without a Social Security number can still get a license as long as they provide a taxpayer ID number.
The only exemption to the proposed change would be if a person is present in the United States on a valid visa issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
While William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said the provision was “a step in the right direction,” he still had some questions about the license process.
“We’re not talking about undocumented aliens — they’ve got lots of documents,” Gheen said. “The Social Security numbers have to be verified or it will not stop illegal aliens from getting driver’s licenses.”
Calls placed to Latino advocacy group El Pueblo on Wednesday night were not immediately returned.