When declaring December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, President Joe Biden said, “Every year, thousands of lives are needlessly lost on our Nation’s roadways because of alcohol – and drug-impaired driving. These are avoidable tragedies that leave deep holes in our Nation’s families and communities. During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to preventing impaired driving.”
While the president’s attempt to mitigate the pain felt by families who have lost a loved one due to the reckless decisions of drunk drivers is noble, his desire to protect illegal aliens who drive intoxicated has shown otherwise.
In January 2020, then-candidate Biden vowed to fire Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who arrest and deport illegal aliens who were not convicted of felony offenses, including DUI. He said, “You only arrest for the purpose of dealing with a felony that’s committed, and I don’t count drunk driving as a felony.”
A DUI violation is a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions, unless the driver is a convicted repeat DUI offender, or if the incident led to serious injury or death of another person. However, it is still a serious crime that puts innocent people at risk. Every time an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel, they endanger the lives of every other motorist, passenger, and pedestrian they encounter.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, drunk driving crashes claimed the lives of 10,142 people in 2019. Moreover, more than 74,000 people suffer from serious injuries induced by alcohol-related crashes each year. DUI also has a high repeat offender rate. Studies show that individuals who have a single DUI conviction are 4.1 times as likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than those without a history of driving drunk.
Unfortunately, the president has committed to allowing illegal alien drunk drivers to remain in the country. In January, the Biden administration made good on the campaign pledge, issuing a memo that bars ICE agents from arresting and deporting most criminal aliens, including those with DUI convictions.
This policy poses an important question for the administration: How does shielding foreign criminals with prior DUI convictions improve public safety? It makes no sense to let individuals who shouldn’t be in the United States remain a safety risk on our nation’s roadways.
In Fiscal Year 2020, of the 185,884 illegal aliens removed by ICE, 35,716 had been convicted of DUI. Additionally, DUI offenses were one of the leading crime categories for immigration lawbreakers last year. Lawfully present immigrants who receive a DUI conviction rightly jeopardize their status and could be subject to deportation. There should be zero tolerance for illegal aliens who not only defy our immigration laws but also violate laws on the books created to protect innocent Americans.
If President Biden is serious about preventing alcohol-induced crashes, he must rescind the disastrous memo protecting illegal alien drunk drivers from deportation. Additionally, ICE must reinstate Operation Secure Streets, a sting that targeted foreign nationals with DUI convictions. The danger posed by drunk driving should prompt the Biden administration to empower ICE to deport as many intoxicated drivers as possible to make our communities safer.