The Texas agency that imposed new rules barring illegal immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses is requesting authority to set up statewide driver’s license checkpoints, part of what several lawmakers suspect is a plan to crack down on illegal immigrants, reports the Houston Chronicle. Some legislators argue the Department of Public Safety Commission overstepped its authority Aug. 25 by issuing new rules requiring applicants to prove they are here legally before they can obtain or renew a Texas driver’s license. Their suspicions deepened when, two weeks later, the commission’s chairman asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott if it was legal for the commission to set up driver’s license checkpoints.
Staffed by state troopers or local police, the checkpoints would stop drivers to review their licenses, vehicle registrations and proof of insurance. State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, says the commission is policing immigration. ”A state agency is making immigration policy for the state of Texas, and that is not their job,” McClendon said. Gov. Rick Perry favors the checkpoints, said spokeswoman Allison Castle. ”Police officers and law enforcement believe this is an important technique in protecting the public, and to that end, the governor supports providing our law enforcement officers with the tools they need to ensure public safety,” Castle said.