Seven of the 19 hijackers boarded the 9/11 planes with driver licenses obtained from Virginia, which did not then require proof of identity from applicants. Virginia has since remedied that dangerous policy.
New Jersey, another state that provided driver licenses to 9/11 hijackers, now requires applicants to prove they are legally in the United States.
The issue has become a political hot potato in states where illegal aliens have congregated. A sign-waving, slogan-shouting crowd rallied in Atlanta on Sept. 16 to demand that the Georgia Legislature allow the estimated 228,000 illegal aliens in that state to get licenses.
The General Accounting Office told the Senate Finance Committee on Sept. 9 how easy it is to get fake licenses. In two out of three attempts, federal investigators were able to get licenses from motor vehicle departments using fraudulent licenses from other states, birth certificates or Social Security cards.
A driver license is pseudo amnesty and just about as much sheer lunacy as real amnesty; a driver license confers identity, it is almost a national ID card. The driver license works to erase the distinction between legals and illegals.
The effects of giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens can ripple into other areas, such as enabling illegal aliens to attend some state universities at resident rates. Illegal aliens are prohibited from buying or transferring firearms. However, because gun-transfer forms rely on the honor system to establish citizenship, the driver license will be a boost to the firearms smuggling rings operating in Southern California.
Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Justice, conceded, "If they lie on their dealer record of sale and say, 'yes they are a citizen' when they are not, there is ... not going to be a further check completed."
Californians are starting to collect signatures to repeal the new driver license law by referendum. In the meantime, Congress should pass H.R. 3052, authored by Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Col., to withhold federal highway funds from those states that give licenses to illegal aliens, just as Congress has done to force the states to enact acceptable laws about seat belts, speed limits and the drinking age.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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