NEW HOPE, Ala. (WHNT) – Many teenagers beg to drive, but most parents won’t let them until the teen gets a driver license. The 2″ x 3″ card seems to serve as a ticket to ride.
A Madison County woman wants the opportunity she’s not had since moving to Alabama. Gisela Burnett emailed WHNT NEWS 19 telling us the state won’t issue her a license.
Burnett is not from America, but has lived here three decades. A state law is getting in her way. She hopes WHNT NEWS 19 can blow a horn to help someone move over and give her a license.
Burnett moved to the United States in 1982.
“I’ve lived in Washington State, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina,” said Burnett.
She married a U.S. soldier and left her native Germany. They were together 25 years. Both moved around, and both were legally able to drive in state after state.
“I just had to show my Resident Alien Card and got my driver license,” added Burnett.
Alabama is putting the brakes on Burnett’s ride throughout the Yellowhammer State, though. Workers with the Department of Public Safety on Church Street would not give Burnett a driver license. They are refusing to honor Burnett’s legal documents issued by the government.
“I was told it was not recognized because it did not have an expiration date on my Resident Alien Card,” added Burnett.
Burnett’s Resident Alien Card came with no expiration date. She moved to Alabama last fall and tried to get an Alabama license a few weeks after settling in at her new home.
Burnett told WHNT NEWS 19 someone in the driver license office told her the state’s immigration law prevented them from issuing her a license.
“I’m not here illegally. I am here legally. I should be treated as anyone else. I pay taxes and everything. I try to make a living,” added Burnett.
Burnett wants to follow Alabama law. She feels forced to keep using her North Carolina license. She decided to contact ‘Fighting for You” to get help.
“I want help. I think this is unfair. I went to Mo Brooks’ office. I called Governor Bentley’s office. I was pushed around,” added Burnett.
WHNT NEWS 19 contacted State Troopers. They’re in charge of issuing licenses to Alabama drivers.
Corporal Jason Osborne in the Driver License Division for Huntsville got back to WHNT NEWS 19, but did not speak about the state’s immigration law.
“She is correct; Alabama does not accept the ‘old’ I-551/Permanent Resident Cards that do not expire,” said Corporal Osborne. “Homeland Security doesn’t issue them anymore and haven’t in many years for the same reason.”
The corporal went on to tell WHNT NEWS 19 Burnett is not the first person to encounter this problem. He says the problem can be easily resolved.
Corporal Osborne asks Burnett to visit the office one more time, bring her documents and ask for him by name.