Sen. Kane Calls For Requiring Proof of Legal U.S. Residency In Order To Obtain CT Driver’s License

February 9, 2009

Hartford, CT – State Senator Rob Kane (R-32) today testified in support of SB 438, An Act Requiring Proof of United States Citizenship or Other Legal Residency In Order To Obtain or Renew a Motor Vehicle Operator’s License, a bill which he has co-sponsored.

SB 438 would bring Connecticut into compliance with the Federal Real ID law, by requiring anyone seeking to obtain or renew a Connecticut driver’s license to first show proof of United States citizenship or legal residency. Furthermore, licenses issued to legal residents would expire at the same time the resident’s legal right to remain in the United States expires.

“The intent of this bill is to offer a measure of protection to everyone who has a legal right to be here by helping to prevent identify theft and fraud – including voter, welfare and Medicare fraud – and to promote public safety by preventing people from obtaining multiple licenses from different states,” said Senator Kane. “If we do not pass this legislation by December of 2009, we will be in violation of the Real ID Act. This could have serious consequences for Connecticut residents as our identification may no longer be accepted for entry to federal buildings or airports.”

Under current law, the Department of Motor Vehicles requires proof of residency before issuing a driver’s license, and visitors from other countries are required to show proof of legal status. However, when a visitor’s legal status (i.e. work visa, student visa, etc.) expires, he or she can still hold a valid Connecticut driver’s license. SB 438 will ensure that when a visitor from another country is no longer residing here legally, his or her Connecticut driver’s license will no longer be valid either.

“Students, travelers, and workers often receive visas to be in the country for periods that are many times shorter then the 6 year driver’s license period, and are thereby able to bypass the immigration system because they are using their license as their main form of id rather then legitimate visas. The terms of the visas and licenses should be co-terminus,” said Senator Kane.