"Two state lawmakers are "outraged" by a forum last week at the YWCA of Rock
County at which a state employee encouraged illegal immigrants to get
driver's licenses before a new law takes effect ... The news release urged
Gov. Jim Doyle to order the Division of Motor Vehicles to 'work to enforce
the citizenship requirements now rather than waiting until April.'..."
From: "Lopez, David" <dlopez@...
Subject: [LaSup] DMV forum blasted
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 10:52:03 -0600
From: Klein, Christopher - DOT [mailto:chris.klein@...
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 2:43 PM
To: Nunez, Lucia; 'figueroa@...
Wilson, Stephanie; 'carrj@...
'; Fernan, Patrick; Judd,
Lynne; Price, Darren
Thought you would be interested in this -
DMV forum blasted
(Published Wednesday, January 31, 2007 11:35:27 AM CST)
By Stacy Vogel
Two state lawmakers are "outraged" by a forum last week at the YWCA of
Rock County at which a state employee encouraged illegal immigrants to
get driver's licenses before a new law takes effect.
Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, and Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend,
issued a news release blasting the Division of Motor Vehicles
representative for "prompting illegal aliens to apply for state driver's
licenses" and asking the governor to order the division to cancel any
Wisconsin will require any applicant for a driver's license or state
identification card to show proof of legal residency in the United
States starting April 1. The law complies with federal standards that
take affect in 2008.
Belem Gonzalez-Regan, director of the YWCA Hispanic Outreach Program,
arranged the Jan. 23 event with Terry Stark of the state Division of
Motor Vehicles to explain the law.
At the forum, Stark encouraged anyone without proof of citizenship or
legal residency who didn't have a driver's license or ID to get one
before the April 1 deadline.
Suder read about the event in The Janesville Gazette and received 20 to
30 calls and e-mails from constituents and other concerned citizens
before issuing the release, he said.
"I think most taxpayers are rightfully outraged by it," he said.
The legislators criticized Stark for telling illegal immigrants how to
"circumvent" the law, and they called the forum "a complete betrayal of
the public's trust."
"Either it's illegal to be an illegal immigrant or not, and I don't care
if you're talking about welfare benefits or if you're talking about
driver's licenses," Grothman said.
"When local government officials go out of their way to assist illegal
immigrants for being illegal. ... you're certainly sending a message to
residents that you don't expect people to take your immigration laws
The Division of Motor Vehicles shouldn't use resources to get licenses
for illegal immigrants when legal residents often wait months for
driving tests, Suder added.
In a response letter, Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator Lynne
Judd said the division provided facts about the law.
"Our message has always been and will always be that anyone who plans to
operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin and is eligible for a driver's
license should obtain one legally," she wrote. "This ensures that the
driver is tested and makes it likely that he or she can obtain
The division will continue to "administer the statutory provisions as
they are codified" until the law changes April 1, Judd wrote.
Suder called Judd's response "disappointing."
"The DMV appears to be digging in their heels on this one, but then
again, so are myself and Sen. Grothman," he said.
The news release urged Gov. Jim Doyle to order the Division of Motor
Vehicles to "work to enforce the citizenship requirements now rather
than waiting until April."
If the Division of Motor Vehicles holds similar classes in the future,
the legislators might take more action, such as introducing a bill in
the Legislature or threatening cuts in the division's next budget, said
Suder, who serves on the state Joint Finance Committee.
"The DMV has a lot of explaining to do, and simply telling us that
they're going to continue their practice is not going to stop us from
asking questions and taking measures to stop what they're doing," Suder
Kerri Parker, executive director of the Rock County YWCA, defended the
"Last week's forum was designed to educate community residents of an
important change in the law," she said. "As far as we're concerned,
we're all safer when drivers are licensed."
Parker also noted that the law might affect more than illegal
The YWCA's domestic violence programs see many women, for example, who
are legal residents but don't have access to their documentation because
of family situations, she said.
Check out all that glitters with the MSN Entertainment Guide to the Academy