Vet denied license renewal, asked to prove citizenship - Dallas News |

Vet denied license renewal, asked to prove citizenship

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A disabled veteran is frustrated over a roadblock that's keeping him from renewing his Texas driver's license.

Duncanville resident Jerry Sullivan was born in St. Louis. He served in Vietnam and then moved to Texas in 1989. But this week when he went to renew his license the Department of Public Safety told him he couldn't because his citizenship was unknown.

"It's very frustrating because, I mean, my license expired in August. Thank God my wife's isn't," he said. "They told me I have to have a passport or birth certificate to prove I'm an American citizen when I've served. I enlisted at 17 and I'm 57."

He tried presenting four other forms of ID – his expired license, his original social security card, a United States military ID and a Veterans Affairs hospital ID card – but had no luck.

Sullivan is disabled and is living on a limited income. It will cost him $60 to get a birth certificate from Missouri.

Opinions were not hard to find at the driver's license office.

"I think it's a pretty lousy deal actually having to prove that. It seems like they ought to have to prove he's not a citizen, the way I look at it," said Ferell Holcom.

"I think Texas is wonderful in most ways, but there's a lot of hoops you have to jump through that seem a little overboard," added Melanie Alexander.'

A spokesperson for DPS said prior to 2008 not everyone had to prove citizenship before getting a driver's license. Now everyone has to show either a birth certificate or passport or have record of one on file.

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