St. Charles Representatives Team Up to Stop Foreigners from Driving in Missouri
First there's Chuck Gatschenberger (R - St. Charles County) who -- when not filing legislation having to do with expanding gun rights, drug-testing the poor and repealing federal health care legislation -- has filed no fewer than three bills this session aimed at keeping foreign-language speakers off Missouri roads.
- HB 2139: Would allow the state only to administer a driver's license exam in English. (Currently the Missouri Highway Patrol administers the exam in Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese, Bosnian, Korean, Chinese, French, German, Greek and Italian.)
- HB 2140: Prohibits the Director of the Department of Revenue from supplying or permitting the use of foreign-language interpreters in connection with the required Missouri driver's license written and driving tests.
- HB 2143: Requires an applicant for a Missouri driver's license to be a United States citizen.
Gatschenberger likes to say that the bills are designed to promote safety. Never mind that foreigners visiting Missouri can drive on their home country's driver license -- regardless of whether or not they understand English.
No, as immigration attorneys note, Gatschenberger's bills are all about discriminating against non-native Americans.
"These bills would effectively prohibit any refugee, foreigner working here on a H-1B visa, or even a new U.S. citizen without a command of English from getting a driver's license in Missouri," Ken Schmitt, an immigration attorney in south county, tells Daily RFT.
|You knew Cynthia Davis had to be involved with this, didn't ya?|
"Believe me, it's already impossible for an undocumented worker to get a driver license in Missouri," says Schmitt.
But wait! Gatschenberger has competition in his quest to stop immigrants from driving. His colleague Cynthia Davis (R - O'Fallon) has filed her own legislation to require that the driving exam only be administered in English.
Davis' HB 1231 was voted "do pass" out of the International Trade and Immigration committee last month.
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