How can New York governor justify rewarding illegal aliens?

Published 4:45 am Monday, October 1, 2007

By Staff
New York State, home to more than half a million illegal immigrants, will reward these lawbreakers by issuing driver's licenses without regard to immigration status in a policy change Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced Sept. 21.
We thought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks demanded a crackdown on license fraud and illegal immigration in the name of national security.
This seems like breathtaking disregard for the victims of 9/11 in, of all places, New York.
Have they so soon forgotten that terrorists here illegally used licenses to kill thousands in the World Trade Center.
"If they do it again using New York licenses issued by this governor, the blood of the victims will be on Mr. Spitzer's hands," Peter Gadiel, president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America," whose son died in the World Trade Center in 2001, told the New York Times.
The whole point of immigration laws is to admit people to the United States systematically on our terms – not theirs.
This change goes backward, rolling back rules adopted four years ago by Gov. George Pataki's administration which made it difficult for tens of thousands of immigrants to obtain driver's licenses because they could not prove legal status.
Now, the Department of Motor Vehicles will accept a current foreign passport as proof of identity without also requiring a valid yearlong visa or other evidence of legal immigration.
The policy does not require legislative approval.
It will be phased in starting in December.
Gov. Spitz said it would be tied to new anti-fraud measures, including authentication of foreign passports and use of photo comparison technology to insure no driver has more than one license.
The governor calls this a "common sense change" that will improve traffic safety and lower insurance costs for New Yorkers by insuring that more immigrants have valid licenses and auto insurance.
A study showed that unlicensed drivers were almost five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than motorists with valid licenses.
The State Department of Insurance estimated that the new rules will save New York drivers $120 million each year by reducing premium costs associated with uninsured motorists by 34 percent.
Giving more immigrants verifiable identification will also enhance law enforcement by bringing people out of the shadows, says Spitz, who is fulfilling a campaign promise he made which thrills immigrant organizations and labor unions.
"The DMV is not the INS," Spitzer said, referring to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, now part of Homeland Security, by its old initials, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The Spitzer administration also points to legislation it will propose to add a residency requirement similar to one already in effect in 27 states to keep New York from becoming a magnet for people who can't get driver's licenses elsewhere.
New York is bucking a national trend and, unfortunately, so is Michigan.
Many states, pressured by demands to crack down on identity fraud, added requirements that effectively prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses.
All but eight states require drivers to prove legal status to obtain driver's licenses.
Michigan is at the back of that pack, too, along with Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.