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Evacuees Lining Up at DPS Office

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

If you've been to the DPS office lately, you may notice a longer wait than normal, that's because Katrina evacuees have been working on getting identification to help them move on.

Henry Jones is one of the several hundreds of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who've found refuge in the Brazos Valley.

"This is all I have, but I just fill out a bit of paperwork and I'm good to go," says Jones.

He didn't leave the Bayou with much, just his life, and his Louisiana identification card.

"As far as process i'm going through, all I have to do is show them my ID and everybody goes above and beyond to try and help," adds Jones.

Katrina evacuees, many of whom plan to stay in the Brazos Valley, are lining up at the DPS office in Bryan trying to get some form of ID. If they have a current license, DPS is sending the information to an online database in Louisiana or Mississippi and getting it verified by the social security office before they issue a Texas ID card or driver's license.

"Once we have the information, they come in to our office, we've made a form with basic questions that we can start the investigation. Once we start it, we send over to social security, we send the information to Louisiana it can take a day or two and we've received them as quick as 10 minutes," says Trooper Becky Salazar.

DPS workers see between 15 and 20 evacuees a day. Some weren't able to save even a photo ID.

"They're older evacuees so it makes it hard for us to figure out who they are and with identity theft and everything else we deal with it makes it tough, but we're trying to help with what we can," says Salazar.

Evacuees who plan to head back to their home states, but need a photo ID card can get a temporary one for free that will be valid until the end of the year.

"It could be a lengthy process, just be patient. As soon as we're taking phone numbers down as soon as we receive their picture we'll get a hold of them and have them come back in," says Salazar.

Displaced residents from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who have decided to stay, can easily transfer their license or ID cards to Texas.


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