According to State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano RER91) in the spring of 2014, the Texas Department of Public started to take the prints of all ten fingers of Texans instead of the prints of their two thumbs, primarily when issuing drivers licenses. By Texas law, this was not permissible. Texas DPS is legally authorized to take the thumb prints of Texans, and if the thumb print is not available, then they are allowed to take a print of an index finger.
Taylor stated on RagingElephantsRadio.com back in February, that constituents from his Senatorial District 8 in the DFW area came to him with concerns that this was being practiced by Texas state law enforcement.
“We went to DPS and asked, ‘Well, why are you doing this?’. Their initial response was that ‘We’re required by the Federal Real ID Act to do this’,” stated Taylor.
“So, we said ‘Show us in the Real ID Act where you’re required to do that?’ And, they handed us 100 pages of legislation. We read it, and said ‘We don’t find anywhere in this legislation where you’re required to do that’”, reported Taylor.
When Texas DPS officials were confronted with the findings of Taylor’s office, they then pointed to legislation passed in Texas in 2007. Once again, Taylor’s staff went through that cited legislation and found no requirement for Texas state law enforcement to take the prints of all ten fingers of Texans. DPS declared that it was the intention of the legislation’s author for all ten prints to be collected. Taylor pursued the issue to the point of calling the author of the legislation who stated to Taylor that the opposite was true of his bill. The taking of prints of all ten fingers was prohibited. It was the only way he could get the bill passed.
Taylor stated that the fact most disturbing to him was Texas DPS took the authoritarian action to unilaterally strike the permissible two-print language of the law and replaced it with permissible language to illegally collect the prints of all ten fingers. Essentially, Texas DPS decided to do whatever it wanted, according to Taylor, regardless of Texas law.
Taylor reported in February of 2016, that Texas DPS is back down to collecting only two thumb prints, and have been forced to destroy the 10 million prints of all ten fingers of Texans that were collected illegally in violation of Texas law. The adult population is approximately 20.4 million, according to the U.S. Census for 2015. Thus, about half of the Texas adult population had their fingerprints collected illegally by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In his interview with RER, State Sen. Taylor gives the full account of how the breaking of the law by Texas law enforcement was discovered, even more of their excuses, what he and his allies had to do to get Texas DPS to discontinue breaking the law, and what measures are put in place to prevent a repeat of the privacy violations.
Copyright©2016 Raging Elephants Radio LLC