Some states allowing illegal immigrants drivers license


    By Rubia Pestitschek

    While the nation remains vulnerable to terrorists using false identification documents, some states continue to grant illegal immigrants the nation”s primary form of accepted identification – a driver license.

    Last week Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill granting driver licenses to illegal immigrants of California, and told cheering supporters waving flags from Central American countries, that they should be able to drive to jobs, according to the Associated Press

    “Hardworking people deserve to have their license,” Davis said, according to the Associated Press. “Now they can drive to work. They can drive their kids to school. They can drive their parents to the hospital.”

    The new legislation will open the door for an estimated two million undocumented immigrants to obtain driver licenses.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, the leading Republican candidate in the Oct. 7 recall election, said he would try to repeal it if he is elected.

    Voter registration forms are given to anyone who obtains a driver license.

    Republicans argue that Gov. Gray Davis is after votes by signing the new bill. Only a year ago, when his future looked brighter, he vetoed a similar bill.

    The Democrats are trying to paint Arnold Schwarzenegger, an immigrant himself, as anti-immigrant because he opposes policies that blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

    According to the National Conference of State Legislature, the states of North Carolina, California, Virginia, Tennessee, Utah and Texas allow illegal immigrants to get a driver license, and at least 39 other states are considering bills on the issue, some in favor of licenses, some opposed.

    A number of states are examining ways to improve the application process in order to eliminate identity theft and fraud.

    It is now easier to get a driver license in Utah because a law that eliminates the requirement of a Social Security card as a prerequisite for a Utah driver license was passed in May.

    Democrats argue that because many illegal immigrants drive without licenses and insurance, they should be able to get a driver license in order to purchase insurance and be safer drivers.

    According to the Associated Press, State Rep. Lois Wolk supported the legislation, saying that one of the benefits of licensing undocumented immigrants is that it will increase the number of insured drivers – a public safety concern.

    “It”s a serious problem that impacts every Californian who must pay the costs of uninsured drivers and who share the road with drivers who haven”t been trained or tested,” she said in a released statement. “I want every driver, including the two million now driving without licenses due to their immigration status, to be identified, trained, tested, licensed and insured.”

    Robert Gallegos, chairperson of RAZ-PAC, a Latino political action group, said he believes that giving people opportunity to drive a car and to be insured is very important for Hispanics.

    “People without a driver license are more likely to run away from accidents because they don”t have insurance or documentation,” Gallegos said.

    However, Republicans argue that giving illegal immigrants access to driver licenses would open the door for terrorists and encourage more illegal immigration.

    Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement is an organization of citizens that are concerned about Utah”s laws rewarding illegal immigration.

    Matt Throckmorton, spokesman for UFIRE, said the majority of illegal immigrants never get insurance, even if they have a driver license.

    One of the primary concerns of UFIRE is national security. They want to modify the law that allows illegal aliens from obtaining a valid driver”s license in Utah.

    Throckmorton said that Americans are paying for the cost of illegal immigrants.

    “Illegal immigration increases when you throw in driver license documents as a bonus,” Throckmorton said. “Immigration is not an economical benefit to the American society.”

    Gallegos believes UFIRE is a racist organization and that they are practicing racism under the umbrella of fear.

    “They are using national security as a scare tactic in order to take away people”s driver licenses,” he said.

    Although Gallegos views UFIRE as a racist organization, Throckmorton claims otherwise.

    “We are not a racist group,” Throckmorton said. “We support legal immigration and we are opposed to illegal immigration”

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