ST. PAUL (AP) -- The state's public safety commissioner has asked the Office of Administrative Hearings to approve his plan to tighten issuance of driver's licenses to foreigners without public notice, hearings or comment.
Charlie Weaver wants the plan, which has drawn protest from immigrant and civil liberties groups, approved within 14 days via emergency administrative rule-making so the license changes can be used as a way to stop terrorists.
Under Weaver's proposal, more stringent proof of residency would be required from driver's license applicants, and noncitizens could be licensed for only as long as their visas allow them to be in the country. Licenses would be denied to foreigners who apply less than 60 days from visa expiration.
Under current law, the state must grant a license to a foreigner for four years even if his or her visa expires within days.
"Nobody I've met in Minnesota thinks that's a good idea," Weaver said Wednesday. "Twenty other states have implemented this. Iowa did it in about two seconds. This rule change will provide Minnesota with the tools to protect the integrity of our driver's license, the gateway to financial opportunities, admission to utility facilities, mass transportation, as well as federal and state courthouses."
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