Illegal Alien Driver's Licenses - Talking Points

The following information is from the article "Illegal Alien Driver's Licenses - Talking Points" published by FAIR. You can read the original article (pdf) which contains references and footnotes.

Granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens is bad public policy and should be opposed for the following reasons:

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Poses National Security Risks.

Granting illegal aliens driver’s licenses makes them invisible to enforcement authorities by giving them the one document they most need to secure employment, transact business and register to vote. This fact is especially disturbing considering that, unlike legal immigrants, illegal aliens are not subject to stringent background checks or face-to-face interviews to determine the existence of any national security threat that they might pose. The 19 September 11 terrorists carried among them over 30 state driver’s licenses and identification cards. These documents allowed them to obtain housing, transportation and other accommodations without raising suspicion while they planned and executed their deadly conspiracy.

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Encourages More Illegal Immigration.

States who grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens become magnets for illegal immigration. Illegal immigration results in higher costs of living, reduced job availability, lower wages, higher crime rates, fiscal hardship on hospitals and substandard quality of care for residents, burdens on public services, increasing their costs and diminishing their availability, and a reduction on the overall quality of life.

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens in One State Creates Adverse Consequences in Other States.

Many states grant recognition of sister states’ driver’s licenses for purposes of granting driver’s licenses to applicants. In other words, an illegal alien could obtain a driver’s license in one state, then potentially take the driver’s license to another state and obtain a driver’s license based on reciprocity.

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Is Fiscally Unwise. 

It is not fair to constituents to continue to increase taxes, cut their benefits and mortgage against their children’s futures while expanding benefits for illegal aliens. States must not invite illegal immigration to their state and place the fiscal burden of providing education, health care and other services to illegal aliens on the backs of taxpayers.

Legislators should not spend scarce resources by granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens who are subject to immediate deportation. States have a legitimate interest in restricting licenses to those who are citizens or legal residents because of the concern that persons subject to immediate deportation will not be financially responsible for property damage or personal injury due to automobile accidents.

Many supporters of illegal alien driver’s licenses are under the misguided impression that our country needs illegal workers. That is simply untrue. Over 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. The U.S. is in no “desperate need of the labor” of illegal aliens.

While the national unemployment rate is currently over 7.9 percent, many states unemployment rates well exceed the national average. For example, the unemployment rate is up to 8.8 percent in Illinois, 9.7 percent in New Jersey, 10.1 percent in California, 10.4 percent in Rhode Island, and as high as 11.5 percent in Nevada.

Providing driving privileges to illegal aliens will only encourage illegal aliens to remain in the state and continue to work in the underground economy for lower wages – severely undercutting American workers and yielding little to no tax revenue for the state.

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Rewards Lawbreakers.

Granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens is a perverse incentive for illegal alien families to move to those states who issue them. Accommodating and rewarding those who violate our immigration laws encourages others to follow the same path and gives prospective immigrants little incentive to pursue the legal paths to immigration when they can side step the process and gain the same benefits.

Granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens also insults those legal immigrants who patiently waited for months and years for the U.S. State Department and DHS to approve their application for admission or adjustment and paid thousands of dollars in travel, legal and medical fees to abide by the entry, employment, health and processing laws and regulations.

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Conflicts with and Frustrates the Purposes and Objectives of Federal Immigration Law.

Federal law clearly states under what circumstances a person may legally reside in the United States. 

An illegal alien, by definition, does not possess lawful presence and is immediately removable. Granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens treats them as if they are lawfully present and facilitates illegal conduct. A driver’s license is one of the most useful single items of identification for creating an appearance of lawful presence. Providing identification and driving privileges to illegal aliens only enables the illegal aliens to continue to live, work, and vote in states unlawfully in contradiction to federal law.

Granting Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens Will Not Significantly Impact Road Safety or Guarantee More Insured Drivers.

In 2011, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report that analyzed traffic accident data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database.

The AAA report reveals that from 2007-2009 less than 5 percent of the drivers involved in fatal car accidents nationwide were unlicensed drivers.

More than 95 percent of all drivers involved in fatal car accidents were licensed drivers or driver’s whose licenses were suspended, revoked, expired, cancelled, or denied.

As a result, any correlation asserted by advocates of illegal alien driver’s licenses between road safety and unlicensed illegal alien drivers is tenuous at best.

By the same token, it defies common sense to contend that the best way to combat accidents by illegal aliens is to give them all drivers’ licenses. If states really want to prevent crashes by unlicensed drivers, the state would discourage them from driving in the first place. This could be done in a variety of ways, but it is certainly not done by lowering standards for driver’s licenses.

Granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens does not guarantee that they will purchase auto insurance. While many states’ laws require all motorists to have auto insurance, there is no reason to think that illegal aliens, having disregarded so many other laws, would obey this one.

What is mistakenly assumed is that illegal aliens, who generally are low-income, have the cash available to acquire auto insurance plus the incentive to buy it in order to protect what little assets they have. While a few illegal aliens may be willing and able to buy insurance, on the whole it will not significantly reduce the number of uninsured drivers. For instance, New Mexico, who issues illegal alien driver’s licenses, is also home to the nation’s second highest percentage of uninsured drivers.


Read the original article (pdf) which contains references and footnotes.