Elliot Spitzer was criticized for a plan to issue limited versions of driver’s licenses to undocumented aliens in New York.
The presumption underlying those objections is that the proposed licenses are tantamount to legalization. But that ignores the reality that issuing a driver’s license to an undocumented alien does not make him legal, nor protect him from deportation, or grant him work authorization.
Instead, driver’s licenses will ensure that the recipients will have to pass a driving test, thus making the roads safer for the rest of us. They will also make it more likely that those drivers have insurance, protecting others from financial loss in case of accidents.
What driver’s licenses will also do is disclose where an alien resides so we can arrest him in case of a crime, or locate them when we need them as witnesses. Further, it will enable us to know more about who and how many live among us so we can better track others who pose the real danger; i.e. those who have more in mind than just providing for their families through hard work. Will this encourage others to come here illegally? Those who risk their lives to come here to support their families will use fake licenses anyway or drive without one. So, if they should be deported, having a license will not stop our government from doing so, and not having one does not appear to prevent them from coming here in the first place. So, we may as well focus on the safety aspects of this issue.
This is not a call for open borders. Illegal entry is a problem needing a solution by our federal government through programs that streamline our society’s need for those low skill workers from abroad, while protecting our own workforce. But, until a reasonable and workable solution is enacted by Congress, let’s not scream foul whenever someone comes up with a temporary solution to a small part of the problem; in this case: undocumented aliens by the millions driving without proper testing or insurance, and endangering the rest of us.