Monday, October 29, 2007

Issuing Driver's Licenses to 'Illegal Immigrants'

I'm not sure I understand the furor. The primary purpose of licensing drivers is to ensure that they are reasonably familiar with state traffic laws, and not likely to pose a danger to other drivers.

If you believe that all people who don't have driver's licenses will refrain from driving, well, how cute. How charmingly naive. If it's a knee-jerk "I hate illegal immigrants" thing, well, call me when you have a rational reason for opposing licensing.

But if you're aware of what happens in the real world, why wouldn't you want at least some threshold of testing to make sure that as many of the other driver's on the road as possible at least meet the minimum requirements to hold a driver's license.


  1. That's wonderful. They have a drivers license AND know the law.


  2. I would assume the objections fall into two main categories:

    1) If this country had a national ID card and all that a driver's license was used for was demonstrating familiarity with traffic laws, I might agree with you. But, in this country a driver's license serves as the de facto national ID card and many of the rights and privileges of citizenship are tied to having one.

    2) There is something inherently hypocritical about issuing a state's legal blessing on someone who is in the country in violation of Federal law.


  3. I think it's basically the knee-jerk "THEY'RE ILLEGAL" prattle we got from commenter #1.

    How is it "hypocritical" to license drivers, regardless of their immigration status?

    What "rights and privileges" do "illegal aliens" get from having a driver's license, which they don't already have?

  4. The possession of a drivers license may not carry with it any "inherent" right other than the right to operate a motor vehicle . . . but the driver's license is how most places (despite the existence of state ID cards) establish identity and residency. Try exercising most any of the other rights without a way to establish your ID and residency . . .


  5. County clerks in two western Michigan counties are currently refusing to issue marriage licenses to illegal immigrants.

    The mechanism is that state and federal law now require collecting social security numbers from applicants for marriage licenses. An applicant who doesn't have a number is asked why they don't have one. A surprising proportion say, "Because I'm here illegally," or words to that effect.

    Two counties now say that's not an acceptable reason for not having an SSN, and refuse to issue a marriage license.

    This policy is under challenge by, among others, the Catholic Church.


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