Storm clouds are gathering in the debate on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. While states such as Arizona and Nebraska have adamantly stated their opposition to the idea, other states such as Illinois and Nevada are pushing legislative measures to permit illegal aliens to drive.
Originally the debate began as a demand for licenses solely for DACA recipients who, having been granted work authorization, contend that they have a legitimate need to be able to drive. However, debate parameters are expanding as state officials float the idea of giving driving privileges to all illegal aliens statewide, regardless of DACA eligibility.
The Illinois Senate recently passed legislation to grant temporary driver’s licenses to all illegal aliens within its jurisdiction. Under Illinois’ proposal, approximately 250,000 illegal aliens in the state would be eligible for the license, which would be valid for up to three years at a time. (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 4, 2012) To obtain a so-called “temporary” driver’s license under the bill, an alien need only have lived in Illinois for a year and may establish his or her identity using a consular ID or foreign passport. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 10, 2012)
Nevada’s Senate is also considering a similar proposal. State legislators have drafted a bill that would initiate a study on the prospective benefits and consequences of granting driver privilege cards to illegal aliens, presumably to gauge the reaction of Nevada residents. With these cards, illegal aliens in Nevada could drive and access insurance, the goal being to curb hit-and-run accidents where illegal aliens flee the scene to avoid deportation. (Associated Press, Dec. 4, 2012)
FAIR contends, in reality, driver’s licenses for illegal aliens wouldn’t solve problems like this at all. What it would do, however, is create a deluge of applicants who, after being granted such privileges, would have greater ease traveling the country and accessing services.
While that may sound innocuous on its face, our nation’s history proves otherwise. The greatest example would be the instrumental use of licenses by the 9/11 terrorists. The multiple licenses the hijackers obtained from states with lax driver’s license requirements permitted them to secure accommodations, flight training, and travel tickets that enabled them to carry out their plots. (FAIR Legislative Update, May 7, 2012; see also FAIR Matricula Consular ID Summary, 2003)
Given the terrorists’ ease in exploiting driver’s license programs, why would we consider expanding such programs to make it even easier for illegal aliens to access and take advantage of? If we’re not careful, we’ll make it very easy for history to repeat itself.