Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, July 17

Illegals shouldn't get licenses

Recently the same tired tirade has resurfaced demanding that Arizona should make it easier for illegal aliens to obtain a driver's license. This is a bad idea for several reasons.

What we are talking about here is a segment of the alien population that is here illegally – not the thousands of immigrants who came to Arizona legally. These are people who have chosen not to follow normal INS procedures that would have provided them with the necessary documents to obtain a driver's license legally.

Congress establishes the U.S. policy on immigration and work authorization, and federal agencies administer it. So long as federal policy classifies persons as illegal aliens the state should view them as such. State law enforcement agencies cannot institute policies that contradict federal law. Entering the U.S. illegally is a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for a subsequent such entry.

Advocates say they want to return illegal aliens the privilege of obtaining a driver's license. Illegal aliens have never been able to obtain a driver's license legally in Arizona. In this country, driving legally is a privilege, not a right. Persons with drunk driving convictions, too many speeding tickets, and/or otherwise have proven themselves unsafe to drive can lose their driving privileges.

Why should illegal aliens, who refuse to accept the rules of society on immigration, receive favored treatment over Arizona drivers the state holds accountable for their actions?

Supporters want the state to issue driver's licenses to persons who lack secure identity documents. Evidence abounds of increasing use of fraudulent documents to obtain identification. We instituted those rules for good reasons which still are valid.

Why is this so important? Because when any applicant – alien or otherwise – for identification lacks a valid identity document, the state doesn't know if the person is a convicted criminal, revoked driver, or if they have stolen the very identity they intend to assume.

The security of identity documents is important for another reason. People use driver's licenses not only to distinguish legal drivers, but also to establish identity for voting, law enforcement, employment, credit and retail transactions.

If the state were to eliminate security safeguards, it would affect more than legal driving status; it could harm retailers and the general public significantly. It is a sad irony that illegal aliens who falsify identity documents often prey on legal immigrants who have worked hard to establish businesses in Arizona.

Further, advocates argue that they want to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens so they will be safer drivers. This argument is completely without merit and is a transparent attempt to turn the illegal alien problem into a public safety issue.

No evidence exists to prove that if llegal immigrants received driver's licenses, they would enroll in driver education programs, obtain insurance and refrain from fleeing the scene of an accident. Common sense dictates that an individual on the run from the law would not wait around at an accident site for the police to arrive.

It is important to note that the very reason many immigrants seek residency here is because our government doesn't allow its officials to pick and choose which laws they will enforce. In essence, advocates for ignoring our immigration policy seek to give government the discretion to enforce the law selectively. It is the mission of government to enforce all laws equally. Don't reward lawbreakers.

In 1994, Arizona charged the United States in federal court with failing to protect the state from "invasion" as required by Article IV – Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. That charge is significantly more valid today. Tell your representative to vote no on SB 1531.

(Bob Park is founder of the Article IV – Section 4 Foundation, the purpose of which is to educate the public about the invasion clause.)

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