Some Immigrants Unable to Get New Tennessee ID

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's new law intended to provide temporary IDs or driver's licenses for immigrants is causing problems for some of them.

The law took effect October 1st. It says the Tennessee Department of Safety may issue a temporary driver's license or identification to people legally in the United States, but only for the time "of the applicant's authorized stay."

The license can't be issued for less than one year or more than five years.

Edurado Martinez is required to renew his visa annually. It expires in November.

He doesn't qualify for a Tennessee ID card.

Martinez recently moved to Chattanooga from Chicago and he says he isn't sure what he will do.

Advocates for immigrants contend the change is keeping a lot of people who are in the country legally from obtaining a driver's license.

But state Safety Department spokeswoman Laura McPherson says federal immigration officials have said individuals who enter the country lawfully typically should have documentation other than a visa.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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