Oct. 1, 2003
In a flip-flop to court the Hispanic vote, California Governor
Gray Davis signed a bill (which he had rejected twice before) to allow
illegal aliens to get driver's licenses. Shamelessly pandering, he
signed it on September 5 in front of a crowd of hundreds of immigrants
and illegals who released balloons while chanting "No recall!"
A driver's license is colloquially known as the "keys to the
kingdom." It is the "breeder document" that enables an alien to
acquire all sorts of fraudulent documentation.
A driver's license is not merely a license to drive a car. It
gives the illegal alien a passport to board a plane, get a job, rent an
apartment or a car, open a bank account, enter a federal building, sign
up for social services, travel back and forth across our borders with
Mexico and Canada, buy a gun, and even register to vote.
Under current law, only residents with a Social Security number
can obtain a driver's license, and the Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV) checks its validity with the Social Security Administration.
Under the new law, aliens can instead present an Individual Taxpayer
Identification Number (ITIN) issued by Internal Revenue Service, but
those numbers are worthless for identification purposes and IRS won't
share its information anyway.
Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) calls the new law an "invitation to forgery"
for terrorists and criminals. That's because the new system (which
lacks any credible identity check) will allow criminals of any
nationality (even U.S. citizens who already have a driver's license) to
apply for a new license under a phony ITIN and use it for illegal
An internal DMV memo obtained by KCRA-TV shows that the financial
cost to California taxpayers will be immense when the law takes effect
January 1. When the two million illegal aliens now in California queue
up for their first-time driver's licenses, DMV says it will need "1,000
new positions to be located in 16 new temporary field offices for 12 to
18 months of operation."
Gray Davis ignored the big lesson of 9/11. All 9/11 hijackers had
one or more state driver's licenses, which enabled them not only to
board the fatal planes but also to live and travel in our country
undetected while they plotted their crimes.
Unfortunately, California is not alone in committing this
travesty. Fourteen other states allow illegal aliens to obtain
driver's licenses (AK, CT, ID, LA, MT, NV, NM, NC, RI, TN, UT, WA,
Seven of the 19 hijackers boarded the 9/11 planes with driver's
licenses obtained from Virginia, which did not then require proof of
identity from applicants (but has since remedied that dangerous
policy). New Jersey, another state that provided driver's licenses to
9/11 hijackers, now requires applicants to prove they are legally in
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 September 16 to demand that the Georgia
Legislature allow the estimated 228,000 illegal aliens in that state to
get driver's licenses.
The General Accounting Office told the Senate Finance Committee on
September 9 how easy it is to get fake driver's licenses. In two out
of three attempts, federal investigators were able to get driver's
licenses from motor vehicle departments using fraudulent driver's
licenses from other states, birth certificates, or Social Security
A driver's license is pseudo amnesty and just as much sheer lunacy
as real amnesty; a driver's license confers identity; it's almost a
national ID card. The driver's license works to erase the distinction
between legals and illegals.
The effects of giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens can
ripple into other areas such as enabling them to attend some state
universities at in-state rates. Illegal aliens are now prohibited from
buying or transferring firearms but, since gun transfer forms rely on
the honor system to establish citizenship (just like voter registration
documents), the driver's license will be a boost to the firearms
smuggling rings operating in southern California.
Hallye Jordan, a spokesperson 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's license law by referendum. In the meantime, Congress should
pass Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) bill (H.R. 3052) to withhold federal
highway funds from states that give driver's licenses to illegal
aliens, just as Congress has done to force the states to enact
acceptable laws about seat belts, speed limits, alcohol content, and
the drinking age.