September 21, 2012

Xenophobes, Unite!

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:42 am by dgcombs

Back in the early 1980's I made my first real trip to a foreign country, Canada. I packed all the cold gear I had and headed to the airport. Once there, the airline employee (yes, in those days, you actually talked to a human being to get your ticket printed), informed me that I would need proof of citizenship. I stopped dead in my tracks. This was news to me. I'd heard all my life that you only needed a driver's license to go to Canada. She laughed at my naivete. "It's not for getting into Canada. It's for getting back into the United States. Your driver's license is not proof of citizenship." So I headed back to my car deep in thought. I only had a few minutes to make the flight, not nearly enough time to go home and dig through the "important papers" file to find my birth certificate. So I dug through my car's glove box and brought everything that could help: my driver's license, car registration, my voter registration card and a prayer. All the while I was desperately trying to remember who won the World Series that year.

On my return to the United States, the border guard again repeated the same refrain, "Your driver's license is not proof of citizenship." It must have all my cumulative documentation and the fact that I knew the Phillies had won the World Series that got me safely home.

I recently received a notice that my driver's license will expire this year and that the state of Georgia has a new procedure to make absolutely sure only valid citizens, living in the USA, employed and paying taxes and being billed for utilities can acquire a driver's license.


I'm not at all sure how this protects me on or off the road. But I'm wondering if this renders my passport obsolete. Any day now, I expect to be stopped at the border crossing between Alabama and Georgia and hear a request for "your papers, please."

1 Comment »

  1. sneezypb said,

    I was very careful driving in Alabama as they have the new law where if they suspect you are not a US citizen they can jail you while requesting the US government to confirm that you are.

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