January/February 2011

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W 18 VOICE ithin a few hours of going to a Plant City, FL, Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office to change his Canadian license plate to the Sunshine State, “Aramis King” (alias used to protect privacy) was on a plane back to Canada against his will. Despite being married to a U.S. citizen (USC) who was in the process of petitioning for King’s residence, having a USC child, and owning his own business, King was taken into custody at the Tampa airport. A federal officer pulled a credit card from King’s wallet and forced him to purchase a ticket to Canada. “Everybody was shocked,” said St. Petersburg attorney P.J. Bradley, who represents the Canadian. According to her, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied the incident took place and the officer with whom she spoke claimed that “they don’t work that way.” However, a DHS representative could not be reached for further comment. Nonetheless, King has been back in Canada since September 30 and is now subject to a 10-year re-entry bar. He faces costly legal fees, loss of business, and separation from his USC family. A Rise in Arrests Obtaining license plates, driver’s licenses, and other driver benefits in Florida, like 46 other states, is particularly difficult—if not impossible—for undocumented persons. Moreover, with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 architect Congressman Lamar Smith becoming the House Judiciary Committee chair, and with a number of Republican governors-elect promising to “enforce immigration laws” similar to those in states like Arizona and Florida, deportations will rise and stories like King’s will become more commonplace. DRIVING WHILE UNDOCUMENTED D.W.U. by ELIZABETH RICCI

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