St. Louis Public Radio News
5:38 am
Wed August 27, 2008

New drivers' license restrictions on illegal immigrants in Mo.

Jefferson City, MO – Some of the new laws taking effect Thursday will make it harder for illegal immigrants to drive on Missouri roads.

The State Department of Revenue will be officially barred from issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and commercial license tests will have to be given in English.

Lt. John Hotz is with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Translators will not be allowed for the applicants who are taking the CDL test...we're trying to make sure that people are qualified and are passing the written test legitimately," Hotz said.

Joan Suarez, Chair of the group Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates, calls the new restriction unfair.

"Certainly for the Bosnian community, the inability with folks who come with English as a second language at a relatively advanced age is (going to) be tough for the Bosnian community, where they have invested so heavily in the trucking industry," Suarez said.

Suarez also says her group is preparing to file a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of some of the new illegal immigration laws.

Some portions of the wide-ranging bill, including sanctuary policies, federal employment authorization and communication with federal officials, won't become law until January 1st, 2009.

Still another provision won't take effect until August 28, 2009: It will require contractors and subcontractors hired for public works projects to provide a 10-hour OSHA safety program for their workers.