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Tennessee cancels 77-year-old Navy veteran’s driver’s license on grounds he’s not a U.S. citizen

Tennessee cancels 77-year-old Navy veteran’s driver’s license on grounds he’s not a U.S. citizen

Tennessee cancels 77-year-old Navy veteran’s driver’s license on grounds he’s not a U.S. citizen

A US Navy veteran who has lived in the United States for more than seven decades says he now feels like his country “doesn’t want him” after Tennessee authorities questioned his citizenship.

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 U.S. citizen.

The 77-year-old has been a professional truck operator for the past 61 years and has held driver’s licenses in New York, New Hampshire and Vermont, according to Channel5 News.

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

“I was told I shouldn’t have had the license in the first place because I couldn’t prove I was a citizen,” O’Connor said. Channel5 News.

David O'Connor, 77, had his driver's license revoked in Tennessee after state authorities said he could not prove his U.S. citizenship (NewsChannel5)David O'Connor, 77, had his driver's license revoked in Tennessee after state authorities said he could not prove his U.S. citizenship (NewsChannel5)

David O’Connor, 77, had his driver’s license revoked in Tennessee after state authorities said he could not prove his U.S. citizenship (NewsChannel5)

O’Connor’s parents are U.S. citizens, but they briefly lived in Canada when he was born, meaning he has a Canadian birth certificate. When O’Connor went to the McMinn County Driver Services Center 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 cancelled my license right then and there.”

He says he is now being forced 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 sense to me.”

At 17, O’Connor enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served for four years as a sonar technician. In addition to his parents’ U.S. citizenship, his military discharge forms also list him as an American.

He also has a Social Security card, receives retirement benefits, and votes every year.

Despite this, without state approval and licensing, the Navy veteran can no longer drive, cannot board a plane and will not be able to vote in the upcoming November election.

“It’s like your country doesn’t want you. I’ve tried to do things right all my life. And now it’s like nothing,” he said. Channel5 News.

The O’Connors had planned to visit family in Vermont, but because they did not have a driver’s license, they could not travel there. In the end, O’Connor had to cancel her plane ticket and ask her son to drive them.

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

“It just blows my mind,” she said. Channel5 News. “I am shocked. I am outraged that, at 77 years old, he is now considered a non-citizen of the country in which he has lived his entire life.”

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

“Shame on them for treating him this way. I hope it gets sorted out soon. I hope they treat a veteran like this,” wrote one user. “This is crazy. Who makes these stupid decisions?” added another.

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