Immigration law causes probate office headaches

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Probate officials say since the immigration law went into effect, they've had to change their computer systems and implement the AL Verify program.

The new requirements mean many residents don't have proper documentation when they go get their tag renewed.

The software switch may have happened overnight.

"We worked with our partners around the clock," says Wells Robinson, Chief Clerk with the Montgomery County Probate Office.

But that doesn't mean learning how to operate it will.

"It's going to take us a little while longer to work through everybody's transactions," says Robinson.

"It's a pain in the butt," says Jennifer Kowalski.  Kowalski just moved to Alabama.

She went to the tag office on Atlanta Highway, only to find she didn't have the right documents to get one.

"Now I have to contact someone to get a birth certificate, to have it mailed," she says.

"We have to presume everyone who comes into this office, including me and the judge is an illegal alien," adds Robinson.

He says there are more steps now--even for a simple tag renewal.

But that's what folks like Mike Spivey wishes he'd known beforehand.

"I did not expect for there to be 60 people in front of me," he says.

So what do you need to bring to the tag office?

Alabama residents should have a valid drivers license or non-driver's ID. If you don't have either of those items, they'll accept a birth certificate or a passport, but not a social security card.

"And so I've been in line twice now and my wife took over my shift," adds Spivey.

Robinson says be prepared, the lines may continue.

"Our employees are working nonstop. Some of them haven't slept. We're doing our best to provide the best customer service we can," he says.

Robinson says this is the most significant change to the probate office operation in decades.

He says not only do they have to have proper documentation, but they must record it when they prove each person is an American citizen.

For more information about what types of identification you can use to get a tag renewal, visit the Write it Down section for a link to the probate office's web site.

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