Thursday, May 30, 2013

CT Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Creates More Problems

Tonight the Connecticut Senate voted to approve allowing undocumented immigrants the opportunity to receive an official state driver’s license. Following nearly six hours of debate with minority Republicans expressing numerous concerns of identification security, the measure passed 19-16 with only two Democrats opposing the measure.

Four states currently offer licenses for undocumented immigrants – Illinois, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. Two of these states have unsuccessfully attempted to repeal their law. According to the Connecticut General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Research, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has pushed to repeal the law, arguing that it leads to fraud, human trafficking, organized crime, and significant security concerns.

Seven states previously offered licenses for undocumented immigrants but repealed their laws – Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee and California. Two of these states are reconsidering their repeal.

Why have nine states – 82% of the states currently or previously offering licenses for undocumented immigrants – repealing their laws? Sounds like problems to me!

I opposed the bill in Connecticut because the proposal clearly had many weaknesses the majority Democrats refused to address.

One of the major flaws in the bill is requiring a background check that only looks at Connecticut criminal history. Background checks required for the purchase of guns in our state requires a national criminal check yet this proposal only checks in-state criminal records. Why?

Undocumented immigrants have a high likelihood of transiency – meaning they often cross state borders. Why are the Democrats ignoring this fact? Why are law-abiding gun owners who are U.S. citizens held to a thorough national background check while undocumented immigrants in Connecticut need only have a clean record in one state to pass muster and be issued an official government identification document?

Connecticut legislators are not empowered to enact federal immigration laws. Our national illegal immigration problem must be fixed in Washington. Issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants is poor public policy and should not be enacted in Connecticut until our federal government fixes our broken immigration system.