Protest outside Richmond DMV over immigration, licenses

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - People are protesting Governor Bob McDonnell's move to restrict who can and can not get a Virginia driver's license. This comes after an accident last month that killed a nun with ties to Richmond.

People were marching right up the front steps of the Division of Motor Vehicles in Richmond. They are all there to show their displeasure with McDonnell's idea to limit immigrants from getting a drivers license here in Virginia.

They call the governor's idea, a war on immigration. But McDonnell sees it another way.

Investigators say 23-year-old Carlos Montano, an illegal immigrant with a Virginia DMV-issued state ID card, is responsible for Sister Denise Mosier's death.

Montano was able to get a drivers license by using an employment authorization card. No, Governor Bob McDonnell has put a temporary stop to that statewide.

So now comes this rally and Megan McNamara is the leader, as other people are taking to the streets with her, going from city to city in Virginia to get their message across.

"It's hurting people who are documented as well. You know people who come from Nicaragua or Haiti or Sudan, who are here on refugee status, they are unable to get to their jobs because they can't get a drivers license," says McNamara.

Bonnie Ward took time out of the day to join the protest. "This is discrimination and that's just wrong. When there's a federal document and the governor can say no we aren't going to accept that, something's wrong."

But the governor said in a statement, allowing people like Montano to get a Virginia I.D., even though he was about to be deported is the problem.

He said, quote, "Virginia law is clear in the requirement that an individual be lawfully in the united states to be eligible for an identification card or to have the privilege to drive."

This group, marching today, disagrees and hopes their message gets across loud and clear.

"We'll have to see if the governor reacts and looks a little bit more into the laws and what it's doing to his state," says McNamara.

This is the second stop of eight planned in the state for this group.

Also, the ACLU of Virginia tells us that they, along with several other groups, have sent a letter to the DMV commissioner asking for the governor's decision to be reversed.

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