LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican state lawmakers in Michigan didn’t try to mandate labeling the driver’s licenses of immigrants with yellow stars, contrary to a claim in a story circulating on several liberal-leaning sites.
The story at themaven and other sites included a meme with a photo of state GOP Rep. Triston Cole and said lawmakers had proposed imprinting yellow stars, suggesting a comparison between the effort and badges that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Michigan, along with other states, has a white star inside a gold circle marked on driver’s licenses to comply with the federal Real ID act, passed in 2005 to strengthen rules for identification at airports and federal facilities. The stars are issued on all government-issued IDs, regardless of citizenship status. Since 2013, the state also has tagged driver’s licenses for temporary immigrants with the letters “LT” to indicate they are limited term.
Michigan lawmakers had initially proposed requiring licenses for immigrants who are not permanent U.S. residents to display when the person’s legal status expired and have a visual marker indicating immigration status.
The legislation was rewritten to remove “problematic language,” said Susan Reed, staff attorney for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, which initially opposed the proposal. Driver’s licenses for temporary immigrants will continue to display “LT” but there won’t be any other visual marker or potentially misleading information about immigration status, said Reed.
Reed says immigrants “will see no meaningful changes” in their licenses should the bill become law.
The proposal, sponsored by GOP Reps. Pamela Hornberger and Beth Griffin, passed the Michigan House but the Senate hasn’t taken any action. Rep. Cole, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, said in an email to The Associated Press that Michigan was not “singling out” noncitizen drivers.
The website didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.