The Obama administration has been battling efforts of states to adopt policies that discourage the settlement of illegal aliens by filing lawsuits against them with the argument that the federal government has sole jurisdiction over immigration policy. Now the administration has adopted a policy of granting a provisional amnesty for illegal aliens under age 31 and giving them work permits. But the administration – in its haste to put this program in operation ahead of the November election – has failed to think through what this program means for the states that bear the brunt of this encouragement of these illegal aliens to stay and become further embedded in our society.
Specifically, the administration has neglected to tell the states what – if any – state programs are affected by the policy to protect these illegal aliens from deportation and to give them work permits. This lack of foresight is most apparent with regard to the issues of the issuance of driver’s licenses to the illegal aliens and whether they can be treated as residents for tuition purposes.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that each state could determine whether to issue licenses or extend other benefits to young immigrants who qualify for the deferred status.” It seems that DHS has no problem with states creating their own immigration policies when it comes to giving benefits to illegal aliens, only when trying to cope with the problem. The DHS position also implies that it is unable to interpret the REAL ID legislation enacted in 2005 that was designed to stop the practice of states issuing driver’s licenses to aliens in the country illegally.