Georgia has been wrangling over a bill that would allow driver's licenses to be obtained by illegal aliens who come only from the "Free Trade Area of the Americas," i.e., from Canada, Latin America and some Caribbean islands.
Among those who spoke against the proposed legislation was retired Col. A.R. "Mac" MacCahan (whose Army unit lost 206 of 212 men fighting in the Korean War). He asked, "What part of illegal don't you understand?" Others ask, why reward people who have committed at least three felonies: illegal entry into the U.S., purchasing fraudulent documents to get a job and misrepresenting the legality of those documents at the workplace?
Kentucky was once one of the easiest states for illegal aliens to get a driver's license. That changed after a 1998 incident in which the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested a vanload of illegals from Russia who had traveled from New York to Louisville to get driver's licenses.
After that, Kentucky reinstituted a policy of requiring that noncitizens applying for licenses take a written test. County Circuit Clerk Tony Miller said, "We try to be helpful. We offer that test in 21 languages," but Miller didn't explain how it promotes safety to license drivers who can't read the road signs.
Arizona and Mississippi have killed bills to make it easier for illegal aliens to get a driver's license. California Governor Gray Davis has twice vetoed a bill to allow illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses, but the legislature is still debating this issue.
INS public affairs officer Garrison Courtney identified one of the biggest problems: "If they were illegal when they came here, it's very difficult to determine who they really are because they've created illegal IDs for themselves."
The Seattle Times reported that one U.S. Department of Justice raid discovered piles of cash totaling $95,262, plus $10,000 worth of computer equipment and specialty papers that had been used to print 800 fake driver's licenses, green cards, work permits, Mexican birth certificates and Social Security cards.
Many are concerned about the danger from issuing licenses to terrorists who might use trucks loaded with gasoline or other hazardous materials in the same way that hijackers used commercial airliners on 9/11.
The U.S. Transportation Department reported last year that we lack sufficient safeguards, particularly from the many states that do not require applicants to prove they are legally in the country.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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