It has become a common refrain among illegal immigrants and those proposing amnesty to assert that they are “as American” as anybody else with “deep roots” in their communities. That myth became more of a frightening reality in New York and New Jersey on Monday when those states joined 13 others in giving illegal aliens the privilege of obtaining a driver’s license.
Although New York passed the Green Light Law in June, it was on Monday that the estimated 882,000 foreign nationals living illegally in the Empire State could apply for licenses. Two legal challenges had delayed the implementation but on Friday U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe ruled that Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola lacked standing to challenge the law. However, he did make clear that dismissing the case “does not mean in the vernacular that the ‘law is legal,’ despite what any politician may claim.”
Passing the law also does not make true the claims of politicians that they were carrying out the will of New Yorkers. In fact, they were acting against voters’ wishes. According to a Siena College poll taken after passage showed New Yorkers opposed it by a 53 to 43 percent margin.
In neighboring New Jersey, where the fifth largest illegal immigration population resides, activists and immigrant special interests, not the voters, were driving the issue forward and right over acquiescing Democratic lawmakers. Rather than face the potentially negative consequences before November, a vote on the bill was delayed until after the election. With both legislative bodies controlled by Democrats, the legislation passed the Assembly by a 42-30 margin and by a vote of 21-17 with two abstaining in the Senate.
Supporters of the laws passed in both states assert they will enhance public safety, but how can further tying the hands of law enforcement make residents safer?
“New York has decided they aren’t going to let Homeland Security Investigations access DMV data when we are investigating things like child pornography, terrorism and human trafficking. Terrible law that protects criminals,” said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) press secretary in statement posted on Monday.
For states so close to the Canadian border, passing a law that prohibits Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from getting access to DMV data that can be essential to efficient screening at the ports of entry makes no sense at all. But the real reason is to make life easier for illegal immigrants and harder for enforcement officers.
As Silvia and Jorge Garcia, two Argentinian nationals, wrote in an opinion piece for Newsday, having a license “will mean finally being able to drive our kids to school and the doctor and driving ourselves to work, without fear of being stopped by the police and having our family torn apart by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The couple state that they came to the U.S. more than a decade ago “seeking a better future” and have been active in the “fight” to get the law passed. It is not about becoming better drivers or to get insurance, as supporters claim. The value of the law and the driver’s license is being able to carry on “normal” activities for which they do not have the legal right, such as holding a job or avoiding the ramifications of violating immigration laws.
In New York, New Jersey and other sanctuary states, the lawmakers are, in essence, enabling hundreds of thousands of people to not only violate the law, but to benefit from the violation. And to do so in plain sight. If illegal aliens are living in such fear and terror, as their defenders claim they are, why were DMVs all across the state of New York overwhelmed with applicants for driver’s licenses?