Safety issue is paramount

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Department of Public Safety now requires new residents to the state to present more identification to obtain a Minnesota driver’s license. The new rule helps "to ensure that individuals who receive state-issued licenses are entitled to receive them and are authorized to live in the United States."

This seems like a good safety measure, considering what can happen when someone takes advantage of the system. The gunman in a shooting that took place Los Angeles International Airport shooting had two California licenses, each with a different birthdate.

The rule is the strictest for temporary residents. The words "status check" and their visa expiration date will appear on the license. Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver has said this will help law enforcement find terrorists.

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This is a good safety measure to gauge how long a person can remain here legally, especially when many of the suspected terrorists are not permanent citizens. It shows that state officials want to act on anti-terrorism proposals instead of just talking about them.

However we shouldn't feel complacent with an extra label and expiration dates in the cards. Some terrorists have lived here for years. Some are not foreign-born.

We ask them to keep looking at options to keep the public safe from terrorism. This is a good step in the right direction but more could be done to prevent identity fraud.