This is the kind of thing that makes one shake their head in wonder at the stupidity of politicians.
Illinois’ top leaders said Tuesday that they will push to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — testing federal strictures and becoming the latest sign that the pendulum has swung away from Arizona-style crackdowns and toward those pursuing a softer line on immigration.
Surrounded by Republicans and Democrats at a news conference, state Senate President John Cullerton said he will try to pass legislation in the coming weeks, and Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign it if it reaches his desk.
“This is a safety issue that impacts every driver in Illinois, and we should join together to take swift action to save lives,” said Mr. Quinn, a Democrat. “Making sure all motorists, regardless of their background, are licensed and insured will drive economic growth and ease the financial burden on all Illinois motorists.”
The move represents the first major backtrack by a state since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nearly a decade ago, when the hijackers used licenses, often obtained by fraud, to board the airplanes they used to target the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and, potentially, the U.S. Capitol or White House.
In the wake of those attacks, the national commission established to look into problems urged the federal government to set a national standard for identification cards such as driver’s licenses. In response, Congress wrote the Real ID Act, which included the requirement that federally compliant licenses be valid only while someone is in the country legally.
Many states moved to embrace that standard, and now only two states — New Mexico and Washington — issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants without any demarcation. Utah issues licenses to illegal immigrants, but those are marked as noncompliant.
Janice Kephart, former counsel to the Sept. 11 Commission, who focused on the terrorists’ travel, said Illinois’ move dents the federal law.
“I wouldn’t say it’s getting rid of Real ID, but it’s numbing Real ID,” she said.
The premise upon which proponents of this measure are basing their assumptions is false. Giving an illegal alien a drivers license will not force them to buy insurance, nor will it necessarily make them safer drivers. They are still illegal and will flee if they think they are in danger of being collared.
Safety is a smokescreen to hide the real reason for this outrage; enforcement. A license will make it easier for illegals to get a job and take pressure off employers to vet their employees to ensure they’re here legally. The political angle can’t be ignored either, as an illegal with a drivers license will have little trouble voting.
I guess we’re going to have to learn the lessons from 9/11 all over again.