REWARDING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION SENDS WRONG MESSAGE ON THE RULE OF LAW IN AMERICA
By Congressman Tom Latham Posted in Immigration — Comments (5) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
This past weekend the Governor of the State of New York announced that illegal immigrants to the United States would soon be allowed to obtain New York State drivers’ licenses. According to news reports, the only required documentation an illegal immigrant would have to present to obtain the driver’s license is a “valid foreign passport.”
New York is the fourth state in the nation to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens — the others are Arizona, Washington State and Vermont.
While I have long been a supporter of legal immigration, I have been and will always remain opposed to illegal immigration. And, I am greatly concerned about the impact of this policy and the message it sends.
The strain caused by illegal immigration on America’s social programs is an issue that cannot be ignored. Oftentimes, illegal immigrants literally make the difference, from a cost standpoint, as to the levels of service that can be offered by state and local governments.
By providing an official government-issued ID to individuals who are illegally in this country, New York and the other three states are giving a level of credibility and a reward to those who show disrespect and disregard for our nation’s immigration laws.
A driver’s license is the gateway to all kinds of legal documents and activities in the United States, which raises some troubling questions.
A driver’s license is probably the most common form of identification used to board a commercial flight in the United States. Would the issuance of this identification to illegal immigrants open up a security threat to commercial air travel?
Several states, including Iowa beginning in 2008, allow same day registration on Election Day. This process allows individuals to show up to a polling location on Election Day, register and then immediately vote in that election.
Since a driver’s license is a common resource used in elections as proof of identity, how can we guarantee that our election system can remain free of the potential voter fraud caused by illegal immigrants who decide to try and register and vote on Election Day?
These states are sending the wrong message when they look the other way to bypass the enforcement of our laws and grant illegal immigrants a government-issued status. Why should an individual respect the laws of a country when policies like these convey that breaking the law in America holds no consequences or punishment?
From its founding, America has consistently applied equal protection under the law to citizens and legal visitors. The very act of entering this country illegally shows disrespect for this important principle and I believe that it should not be rewarded in any way.
This is an op-ed from the desk of Congressman Tom Latham, who represents the people of the Fourth District of Iowa in Congress.