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New illegal immigration bill affecting legal citizens

Lawton_Oklahoma's new illegal immigration law has some unintended consequences.  It's making it difficult for everyday American citizens to renew their driver's licenses.  If you let your driver's license expire it the new law requires you to prove who you are before you can get it renewed - it won't renew automatically.  That's made some legal American's unhappy.  Just how hard will it be to get a new license if you let your current one expire?

One man 7News spoke with said he had to wait in line for four hours to get a copy of his birth certificate from Oklahoma City.  Then, he had to drive all the way back to Lawton - just to get his new license. 

Two weeks ago, Tanya Miller planned a short trip to Lawton to get her new license.  But, she ended up going around in circles.  "They told me at the tag office that once your ID expires - if you go past that time - effective November 1st, with the new law you have to go to the OHP office with your birth certificate," she says.

So, off Tanya went - all the way back home to Elgin to get the proper documentation and bring it back to Lawton.  "It expired the end of October and now I've got to come here because of this new law," she says.  And, she wasn't alone - she was number 88 in line.

House Bill 1804 - Oklahoma's new immigration law - is supposed to stop illegal residents from obtaining United States identification.  It's probably doing that, but Tanya Miller says it's also making it a chore for her to get her license.  "It was a huge inconvenience, especially living out of town.  I think if you have your driver's license with you, why should you have to go through this?" she says.

Normally, to renew your license, you only need to bring in your old one.  "Now, if it's expired, all expired drivers' licenses has to come through a Driver License Examiner," says William Rogers, LPS Senior Examiner.  And, he says, you have to bring at least one document that proves you are a US Citizen.  He says it's easier if you just don't let your license expire.  "If you are born in this country, you go straight to the tag agent and they can renew it," he says.

Rogers thinks the new illegal immigration law is a good thing.  "From the little part that affects us, driver's licenses, I think that it will strengthen the situation to where that it slows down ID fraud and I think it will also help with identity theft," he says.  But, try telling that to Miller.  He says it's still a major inconvenience to have to go both places - especially with today's high gas prices.  "I don't understand it when you already have your license with you," he says. 

So, if you don't want to take a chance on having your license expire, you don't have to wait until the last minute.  You can renew your driver's license up to six months ahead of time and it won't affect the new expiration date.  It's like getting six months extra added to your license.

You can also renew your unexpired license by mail.  And, if you're active duty military or in a military family and temporarily living out of state you have a 60 day grace period to renew when you return.

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