Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013, 6:00 am
View from QCA: Licenses for undocumented immigrants wrongheaded
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By Jon A. Zahm
I write in strong opposition to your Jan. 11 editorial supporting the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants (SB 957).
I cannot imagine a more wrongheaded piece of legislation that runs counter to any kind of common sense.
There are an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants in Illinois who would be able to qualify for these licenses. If you are here illegally, and are caught being here illegally, why would we grant you the privilege of driving on our roads?
If Illinois becomes a safe haven for illegal behavior, won't we attract more people who will break our laws if they know the laws will not be enforced?
Having more people on the roads who are not concerned with legal behavior will make our roads more unsafe.
But don't just take my word for it. According Greg Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Sheriff's Association, only three of the state's 102 Sheriffs support SB 957.
The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is against the bill, in part because there are no requirements of fingerprinting, or checking Federal Tax ID numbers, two safeguards required under the Homeland Security Act to combat terrorism.
There is a false premise made by some that our roads will be safer because this bill might get illegal immigrants to carry insurance.
Common sense tells me that our roads will be safer if strict enforcement of being properly licensed and insured is enforced.
This way illegals may do one of three things that would improve road safety in Illinois:
-- Become legal citizens and follow our laws
-- Use public transportation and get rides from legal drivers
-- Leave Illinois and go to a state or country that allows lawless behavior
Only two other states license illegal immigrants to drive.
One, New Mexico, is looking to repeal the law at the urging of Gov. Susana Martinez who has said that her state has become a "magnet" for illegal immigrants since the law was passed and has been a net negative for the state. Another state, Utah, abandoned its program for licensing illegal immigrants as it proved to be rife with fraud and abuse.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White said that the program would have an initial price tag of $800,000 to set up, and $250,000 a year to maintain.
Considering the cost to society already incurred by illegal immigration on our schools and social welfare programs, can we afford to pay any more?
Thank you to Quad-Cities area Reps. Don Moffitt, Rich Morthland and Pat Verschoore, and Sens. Tim Bivins and Darin LaHood for opposing this bill.
Sadly, Sen. Mike Jacobs added his vote to Chicago majority leader John Cullerton's bill. This legislation did not represent the rule of law, nor common sense.
But it sure showed which representatives and senators will do anything to pander for a special interest vote, and be swayed by a loud, angry, and lawless mob demanding special rights.
Jon A. Zahm lives in Osco.