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Opening Arguments

Just a name

OK, we know why Indiana insists that the names on our divers licenses be the same as the ones on our Social Security records. With legitimate concerns about terrorism and illegal immigration, such a precaution seems only prudent. Still, this seems like bureaucratic insensitivity of the highest order:

LAKE STATION (AP) — A retired steelworker and longtime Indiana resident must change his name if he wants a driver's license, the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles says.

The BMV informed Francisco Mendez, 65, that he had to change his name to Francisco Mendez Vale to match his birth certificate even though he follows the custom of his native Puerto Rico and does not use his mother's family name. In many Spanish speaking parts of the world, children are given both the father's and mother's family names, but generally use only the paternal name.

Mendez has gone through his whole life without "Vale" being anywhere but on his birth certificate, even when he served in the U.S. military. But, says BMV spokesman Dennis Rosenbrough, "The birth certificate is your name. It's the ultimate identifier. But you can go to court and change your name."


Tue, 01/08/2008 - 9:39pm

Leo ...Where do I apply for my diver's license? Damn that spellchecker!