Illegal Immigration and Drivers Licenses
Contributed by The Political Heretic
The California Assembly voted late last night to pass a bill authorizing the creation of special driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. The state senate passed a similar bill in June but will have to vote on it again since revisions were made to it while in the Assembly. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has not committed, signed, or vetoed the bill yet, but he did veto an immigration license bill last year.
New licenses would be given to those illegal immigrants who apply for them. The new licenses could not be used as a valid form of identification in any financial transaction or for boarding airplanes. The governor's office claims it would rather wait until the federal government establishes its own requirements for state licenses but some Democrats say it would make the roadways safer by making sure everyone is trained and insured. Most arguments, however, revolved around the status of illegal immigrants with some who oppose the license bill questioning why they were giving driving permission to those who shouldn't even be there and encouraging them to break the law further, while those who support the bill appeal to the 'human needs' of those who cross the border looking to send a decent paycheck to family members living at home.
Any discussion on illegal immigration would be incomplete if there was no consideration of its impact on the war on terrorism. If Mexican citizens (and other immigrants) could sneak across the borders with impunity, an aspiring terrorist from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia or Nigeria could do so also. They need only fly to Mexico and eventually make their way up to the Mexican-American border.
Assemblyman Jerome Horton, one of those supporting the bill, is quoted as saying that "it is the right thing to do because individuals are here and they're driving and that's the reality." Mr. Horton's defeatist attitude isn't needed and should not be welcomed at a time when others who have every desire to harm us will do their best to do so. We were attacked on September 11, 2001 by religious fanatics who have no qualms about killing innocent civilians. While they may be focusing their new time and energy at our allies for now, they might strike us again sometime in the future.
Their decision to focus their efforts elsewhere provides us with a unique opportunity to address our security needs at home, and aside from stronger security at our airports nothing can be more obvious than border security (and this applies to both, entrance from Canada and entrance from Mexico). The Bush administration and its successors should be working with the governors to develop tighter border security by increasing border controls and raising fines on those who hire undocumented workers and not make it easier for those who do cross the border. Hospitals that care for illegals should immediately report them to the police and border control.
As time goes by and we set up a new system to control illegal immigration into our country we may, out of our good nature, extend some sort of amnesty to those already within our country should they go to the proper authorities and register their names as such but now, when there is no such control over immigration into and out of our country, is not the time. Governor Schwarzenegger should veto this latest bill like the one that preceded it. California alone cannot be responsible for illegal immigration - not when people can move from state to state with ease.