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Tue Feb 11, 2020, 11:29 PM

A Puerto Rican man applied for a license. Georgia officials arrested and jailed him for fraud.

Source: Washington Post

A Puerto Rican man applied for a license. Georgia officials arrested and jailed him for fraud.

By Brittany Shammas
2/11/2020, 7:48:35 p.m.

Kenneth Caban Gonzalez waited the required 30 days after moving to Georgia, then gathered what he needed to apply for a driver’s license. At a Department of Driver Services office in the small southeast Georgia city of Hinesville, he handed over his Social Security card, along with the birth certificate and license he’d been issued in Puerto Rico.

But when Caban Gonzalez was called back to the service center a few days later, on Nov. 3, 2017, he wasn’t given a new ID. He was arrested and taken to jail, accused of first-degree forgery and presenting fraudulent documents — both felony crimes. He spent three days behind bars, lost construction work and faced the possibility of imprisonment before ultimately being cleared last March.

Caban Gonzalez’s ordeal was the result of a Georgia Department of Driver Services practice of treating license seekers who moved from Puerto Rico differently than those who came from U.S. states and the District of Columbia, even though they are U.S. citizens.

Now, as part of a settlement in a federal discrimination lawsuit Caban Gonzalez filed in July, the state has agreed to start treating applicants from Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories the same as those from U.S. states. Previously, the state subjected some to automatic fraud checks, confiscating their documents to check their legitimacy, and in some cases, it required applicants to take a test proving their knowledge of the island.

“How do you celebrate San Juan Day?” was one of the questions. ...


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/02/11/puerto-rican-man-applied-license-georgia-officials-arrested-jailed-him-fraud/

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