Law’s impact felt at probate office

Published 8:31 am Thursday, October 6, 2011

Even as a federal judge considered the fate of Alabama’s immigration law, local officials were gearing up for its impact.

Once the ruling was handed down last week, their plans were quickly put into action and, in the case of the Pike County Probate Office, that means educating the public about some significant changes to the vehicle licensing process.

Under the new law, anyone entering in a business transaction with the state (and this applies to securing a license) must demonstrate U.S. Citizenship.

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So what does that mean to you? For most of us, it means when we head to the Pike County Courthouse each year to renew our car tags, we must show a driver’s license (or passport or birth certificate) as part of the process. And, if the vehicle is registered in two names, information from both driver’s licenses must be presented.

In truth, officials say the changes will add only a couple of minutes to each transaction.

But in reality, it’s likely to cause some heartburn for taxpayers who forget about the new rules or clerks who have to listen to rumblings about the changes.

Alabama’s immigration law is a massive in scope. And despite ominous warnings from opponents and urges for staying calm from supporters, the true impact of the law on our lives is yet to be determined.

So the best thing for each of us to do is be informed of the changes as they develop and be prepared for what we will face.

Yes, there will be inconveniences, particularly in dealing with dual ownership and vehicle registration, but it’s the law we have and we must follow it.