Tennessee cancels driver’s license of 77-year-old Navy veteran saying he isn’t a US citizen


A US Navy veteran who has lived in America for more than seven decades says it now feels like his country “doesn’t want him” after his citizenship was challenged by authorities in Tennessee.

As the nation celebrates Independence Day on July 4, David O’Connor is locked in a battle with the state DMV, which has taken away his license after claiming he could not prove he was a US citizen.

The 77-year-old has been a professional truck operator for the last 61 years and has held driver’s licenses in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, according to NewsChannel5.

He also got a license eight years ago when he moved to Tennessee. According to O’Connor, last month the state canceled his license.

“They told me I shouldn’t have had the license in the first place ‘cause I couldn’t prove that I was a citizen,” O’Connor told NewsChannel5.

David O’Connor, 77, has had his driver’s license taken off him in Tennessee, after state authorities said he could not prove his US citizenship (NewsChannel5)

David O’Connor, 77, has had his driver’s license taken off him in Tennessee, after state authorities said he could not prove his US citizenship (NewsChannel5)

Both of O’Connor’s parents are US citizens but were briefly living in Canada when he was born, meaning he has a Canadian birth certificate. When O’Connor went to the Driver Service Center in McMinn County to renew his license and get a “Real ID,” the certificate was rejected.

“They said, ‘No, that’s no good. We shouldn’t have given you the license in the first place,’” O’Connor recalled.”They just canceled my license right then and there.”

He says he is now being made to jump through multiple hoops to prove his citizenship.

“I’ve been here for 77 years,” O’Connor told the outlet. “None of this makes any sense to me.”

At the age of 17, O’Connor enlisted in the US Navy, where he served for four years as a sonar technician. As well as his parents’ US citizenship, his military discharge forms also list him as American.

He also has a social security card, gets retirement benefits, and votes every year.

Despite this, without approval and a license from the state, the Navy veteran can no longer drive, cannot get on a plane, and won’t be able to vote in the upcoming elections in November.

“It’s like your country don’t want you. I’ve tried to do things the right way all my life. And now it’s like I’m nothing,” he told NewsChannel5.

The O’Connors were supposed to visit family earlier in Vermont, but without a driver’s license, he couldn’t fly there. Ultimately, O’Connor had to cancel his airline ticket and have his son drive them there.

His wife, Jean O’Connor said she was “flabbergasted and outraged” by the situation.

“It just blows my mind,” she told NewsChannel5. “I am flabbergasted. I am outraged that, at 77 years old, he is now considered a non-citizen by the country that he has lived in his whole life.”

Social media users were also quick to react to the story, calling the treatment of O’Connor “messed up” and “ridiculous”.

“What a shame they are treating him this way. Hope he gets this straightened out soon. Hate to see a veteran treated this way,” one user wrote. “This is Insanity. Who makes these asinine decisions?” added another.

The Independent has reached out to the Tennessee DMV for comment on the situation with O’Connor’s license.



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