Thoughts on the growing drive to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens…
There is nothing inherently wrong with allowing noncitizens to legally drive in the United States.
The United Nations Convention on International Road Traffic, for example, has been providing a framework for issuing International Driving Permits to world travelers ever since 1949. Without one, we Americans could not rent cars in most foreign countries, and we would be restricted to passenger trains and taxicabs overseas.
The key to that permit, of course, is that it’s issued by the driver’s home country, his country of citizenship. We Americans get one here, before we go abroad, and that is as it should be. Australians get theirs before they leave Australia; Japanese get theirs before they leave Japan. Heck, most of them wouldn’t set out on the trip until this important step had been done. And so too should Mexicans get their international driver’s licenses, while at home, before they leave Mexico.
The subject at hand, in Springfield, Illinois at least, is whether the destination country can or should issue a driver’s license to non-citizens. There are good reasons to look into the issue, good reasons to address it, but no clear and easy solution to be found. And a number of potentially severe risks as well.
Why is this an issue today?
On January 8, Illinois’ state legislature passed a bill to empower the Illinois Secretary of State to issue driver’s licenses to non-citizens. They were driven to do so for just a few simple reasons, some of them good:
1) Illinois is a major population center. Its public transportation doesn’t go everywhere, and it isn’t safe everywhere. People should have the ability to drive a car so they are not limited by the routes of safe public transportation, or forced to ride unsafe public transportation. That’s reasonable.
2) Illinois is a major employment center, with plenty of foreigners here legally on work visas. They’re contributing to our economy; should we be forcing them to return across an ocean to renew their driver’s permits? Surely the least we can do for these good taxpayers is let them get their driver’s license here in town.
3) Illinois has terrible traffic congestion, world-famous traffic congestion. The highway system built in the mid-20th century has become an obstacle course, as dodging accidents is sometimes as much a part of the experience as dodging potholes. Giving out driver’s licenses enables drivers to purchase insurance, so that they are insured when they wind up in the almost inevitable accident.
4) Illinois is infested with illegal aliens, who feel marginalized, discriminated against, by the mere virtue of the fact that we won’t allow them a driver’s license. If we give them driver’s licenses – while they’ll still be in violation of the law, of course, by definition – perhaps they won’t feel so bad.
Certainly there are good reasons to consider it. But some of the reasons are amazingly, “insult our intelligence” level, bad. If anything, this issue is largely a reminder of the need to fix our immigration system at the federal level, more than a justification to muddle it even more.
A broken immigration system
One of the most common arguments for the states to take over some aspects of the immigration arena is the fact that our immigration system is indeed broken. Consider:
· Immigrants can be divided into three basic groups: very desirable ones (easily assimilated, highly intelligent, highly skilled), average ones (regular people with no particular skills or expectation of quickly blending into the American culture), and undesirable ones (criminals and sick people).
· The current system highly limits our ability to bring in the law-abiding, very desirable ones, while low enforcement at the borders allows the other groups to enter in massive numbers.
· The number of estimated illegal aliens hovers around 20 million nationwide, but of course it depends on who’s doing the estimating. The larger this number gets, the harder any fix is going to be.
Clearly, the United States desperately needs to resolve the problem – not just the number of current and future illegals, but also of immigration as a whole. We need to secure our borders better; we need to design a system that welcomes the very desirable immigrant population while limiting the average and denying the undesirable. But that’s a federal issue, not one for the states to address.
What the states can do – as usual – is to either be part of the problem or part of the solution. If a state requires an official birth certificate, then tests the applicant, and then issues a driver’s license that clearly identifies the applicant as a non-citizen, without getting into what kind of non-citizen he is (whether he has a student visa, work visa, green card, or nothing), that may be justifiable. It would leave immigration enforcement mostly in the hands of the federal government, focusing on addressing the state’s genuine local needs, such as enabling people to drive more safely by taking the driving exam, getting their cars the protection of auto insurance, etc.
If, however, the state issues a driver’s license that fails to identify the applicant as a non-citizen, then the state is intentionally moving beyond its legitimate needs, to support illegal aliens’ skirting of the law. This arguably makes the state an accessory to immigration and naturalization crimes. It would be unconscionable. This driver’s license must at minimum identify the alien as such, somehow, even if the state does leave differentiation between the various types of aliens a federal area of responsibility.
The Challenges of Immigration
America was, of course, built on immigration. Every discussion of the topic must include that statement; it’s an unwritten law to keep columnists from being accused of xenophobia (not that it helps; if the Left disagrees with you, they call you racist, bigot, etc., depending on which variant of “xenophobe” they can spell).
But again, there are different types of immigration. The people who founded this nation, who developed our economic, legal, and governmental systems, were the educated, intelligent, thoughtful, Christian, northern Europeans. Englishmen, Scots, Irishmen, and Dutch were the vast majority of the immigrants who built the America of the Founding era and the early nineteenth century.
The many other demographic groups in this country arrived in many different ways, so they should be viewed differently. The American Indians were already here when we arrived. Through the evil of slavery, we brought innocent blacks here from Africa. Asians and other Europeans arrived in waves over the centuries. Central and South Americans – themselves descended chiefly from a mixture of native Americans and the European settlers – have also arrived steadily, especially in the past couple of generations.
The relative success of these groups in the United States has largely depended on how well they have been assimilated. Many groups assimilated quickly; others took a rough generation or two to assimilate. Others have been restricted by outside forces – slaveholders and wicked laws before the Civil War, the leadership of the black community in recent generations. Indians live in reservations, miserably apart from the rest of society; many other groups live in culturally homogenous ghettoes by choice. The welfare state has increased this problem since the New Deal, and especially since the Great Society. People who live in public housing are apart from American society, and are thus mostly kept from participating in the American Dream.
Among the worst of such assimilation problems has been the insistence of the Hispanic lobby to keep Spanish-speaking immigrants speaking Spanish. By limiting their ability to learn English, their leaders keep them dependant, even keep them from knowing the law and from being informed enough about politics to cast an intelligent vote.
We English speakers know that only non-felon U.S. citizens can vote, for example, and only once per Election Day. Impoverished and uneducated foreigners, under the thumb of tyrannical civic leaders with the power of their party in mind rather than the interests of their wards, will do what they’re told, often unaware that it’s even a crime. “Sign here,” they’re told, so they sign. “Check this box,” they’re told, so they do. “Give me 30%,” is the instruction, and so, afraid of ICE agents or police knocking on the door, they do what they’re told by their “protectors” or “sponsors.”
Anytime immigration is designed with intentional roadblocks to swift assimilation – learning the English language and joining the culture of liberty being the key elements thereof – the immigration system must be suspect.
Just as African immigrants were immorally restricted from assimilation by the institution of slavery, the modern Democratic party’s embrace of separate language, separate dialect, separate culture, separate churches, separate schools, separate housing, separate radio stations, separate music, separate films, separate enforcement of the law – and so many more – all contribute to the institutionalized impoverishment of these immigrant groups.
Again, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem; the Democrats’ desire to keep illegal aliens illegal, to keep them from assimilation by minimizing the enforcement of immigration law and facilitating their continued illegal status as a minority apart, is bad not just in general but also for the very immigrants concerned.
Besides, there have been times when the American economy needed large numbers of immigrants, and we could assimilate them quickly. Because our economy is now contracting at a record rate, we cannot provide the economic opportunities to newcomers that we once could. We certainly should, but we don’t. Crushing taxes, massive government spending, the devaluing of the dollar by operating the printing presses at double-time, and onerous regulations on all kinds of business, all conspire to kill job opportunities at a record pace. At the time when the Democratic party desperately wants to import as many future low-information voters and party members as possible, the nation not only can be at our least welcoming, they are actually harmful for us. With unprecedented, massive unemployment for over four years now, we should not be importing more general workers; it’s not only bad for us, it’s welcoming them under false pretenses, as America no longer affords the opportunity it did.
We need to fix our economy first, before we do anything to encourage or reward further immigration, the sole exception being the very desirable immigrants who may be needed to effect this fix.
Besides the continued economic downturn, what has changed most in the American political landscape over the past four years?
During the Obama administration, recognition of widespread vote fraud has prompted many states to take strong measures to reduce the terrible epidemic of stolen elections.
Journalistic luminaries such as John Fund and Hans Von Spakovsky have written volumes on the problem; private organizations like TrueTheVote.org have sprung up to confront it from the grass roots. Since 2008, many states have passed reasonable laws that finally implemented first steps toward reducing the fraud, simple common-sense steps that Democrat-appointed judges have done their best to unconstitutionally postpone or even eviscerate.
As a result, in the 2012 election, it has been reported that every state with reasonable restrictions such as a Real ID requirement voted for Mitt Romney, and every state that forbids checking ID at the polls voted for Barack Obama. The Democratic Party knows that vote fraud is a critical component of their electoral success, and they guard that tool more jealously than any other in their toolbox.
Non-citizens, whether legal or illegal, have no right to vote at all, of course. But they do, in the thousands, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. Precise statistics are unavailable, by definition, but reasonable estimates indicate that millions of counted votes are actually cast by multiple-voting illegals, as organizations arrange for absentee ballot fraud, multiple address fraud, and perhaps most shamelessly, the practice of school bus fraud. In this method, a bus is filled with forty or fifty migrants, and the bus travels from polling place to polling place, all day long; every passenger is given a new name and address to declare when they arrive at each polling place. “Here, you’ll be Ernesto Cardinal of 550 Main Street, okay?” “Si.” “Here, you’ll be Roberto Guadalajara of 220 Oak Street. Got it?” “Si.” “Here, you’ll be Bob Smith of 1000 Maple Street. If they question your name, just say that grandpa anglicized it. Okay?” “Si.”
Ever wonder why they resist purging the voting rolls of people who’ve died or moved away? Now you know.
What is the key tool in the fight against vote fraud? The state-issued driver’s license.
Only with a demand for a driver’s license can a state protect its elections from massive fraud. There are still other methods – many of them – but no single step can do more to guard the election from massive abuse than simply requiring the presentation of a state-issued picture ID.
If we allow that picture ID to be issued to non-citizens without a clear, bold-font statement that the licensee is not eligible to vote, then we have just driven the final stake into the coffin of our “one man, one vote” system of government.
And it is most likely that – for all the pontificating about the poor and disadvantaged that we hear from the disingenuous un-American Left today – the destruction of our electoral process is really the principle driver behind the effort to issue driver’s licenses to aliens.
Conservatives must fight it on principle; the federal government must fight it as an undermining of legitimate federal law, and Republicans must fight it as a challenge to the death, for the only hope the Republican party has is in honest elections.
When one fighter obeys the Marquis of Queensbury rules, and the other fighter doesn’t, the question isn’t who will win the match; it’s just how soon the honest man, in excruciating pain, hits the floor for the last time.
Copyright 2012 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Customs broker and international trade lecturer. A proud descendent of legal immigrants from Ireland, Canada, Italy, and Austria, his heart is with those honorable applicants who wait their turn, and has far less compassion for those who begin their American residence by breaking the law. Most of all, however, he’s concerned with the honest Americans whose votes are stolen on Election Day, cancelled out by the illegally cast ballots of ineligible criminals in the corrupt service of the Democratic Party.
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