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Give illegals drivers' licenses, suit asks

CHARITON, Iowa, Nov. 20, 2003 -- (UPI) -- An Iowa lawyer has filed a lawsuit to obtain drivers' licenses for thousands of illegal immigrants whom he contends have been treated unfairly.

The Des Moines Register reported Thursday Curt Daniels, who said he is suing on behalf of both legal and illegal residents, is seeking a court order that would force state officials to grant licenses without requiring applicants to have a Social Security number.

The lawsuit claims illegal immigrants have been denied equal protection of the law by Iowa's refusal to let them drive legally.

Requiring a Social Security card, according to the lawsuit, "is unconstitutional and totally unwarranted and without rational explanation or compelling government interest."

Iowa citizens are also harmed by the state's policy, Daniels argued, because it encourages illegal driving and is "counterproductive to insuring safe travel on public thoroughfares."

A spokesman told the Register officials are reviewing the lawsuit, but that Iowa law allows the Social Security requirement be waived "only for foreign nationals legally authorized to be in the country temporarily."