This is a response to the guest column penned by Sen. Bill Brady and Sheriff Mark Curran on December 28th concerning the new bill to grant driver’s licenses to 250,000 illegal aliens. The column was an insult to every legal citizen and immigrant of Illinois.
With a call-back to Ellis Island, Brady and Curran drone on about America’s history as a “melting pot of immigrants” to obfuscate the arguments against this bad bill. Of course, we are a melting pot of immigrants. But what does any of this have to do with this legislation? Brady and Curran write that the question of immigration of reform is an “emotional one.” Indeed it is. These elected officials have sworn an oath to uphold the law and that is what this debate about driver’s licenses for illegal aliens is really about: the law.
In a PBS interview last year, Sheriff Curran, who has run as both a Democrat and a Republican, said that America has “lured” illegal aliens here with false promises.But how, exactly, does evading border security constitute a lure?
Curran and Brady also state that “there is a cost to society when we have uninsured, untrained and untested drivers.” They suggest that their legislation to extend driver’s licenses to undocumented aliens will solve the problem and make our streets safer. They say that the new state-issued ID can’t be used to vote and illegal aliens will have to prove their identity.
But Illinois police chiefs disagree with them. They don’t like this bill and are fighting it in Springfield. The Illinois Sheriffs Association hasn’t taken a position on the bill but the group’s executive director says that only a few sheriffs actually support it.
Once the bill had enough votes in the legislature, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a pro-amnesty group, scaled back the bill’s identification requirements like fingerprint biometrics. The group renamed themselves the Highway Safety Coalition to give lawmakers cover in the debate on this controversial bill.
All of this has made the entire process dishonest.After the November election, Republican lawmakers quickly flip-flopped to a “yes” vote on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens in Illinois. They hoped for quick passage in a slow holiday news cycle where the public isn’t as likely to pay attention.
But this bill deserves more attention than that. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has had a big problem with taking bribes-for-licenses for decades. It didn’t start with George Ryan and the Operation Safe Roads probe and it didn’t end there either. The FBI is currently investigating a Chinatown black market ring for illegal driver’s licenses involving Jesse White’s Secretary of State’s office.
And now we are supposed to trust Illinois government again to issue driver’s licenses to 250,000 illegal aliens? And that they will make our streets safer?
This kind of legislation has spurred a serious fraud problem in New Mexico and other states where it has been enacted. Papers have been forged, auto repair shops have been regularly listed as places of residence, and more illegal driver’s licenses schemes have caused headaches for law enforcement as foreigners from other countries come to the state to fraudulently receive a U.S. driver’s license.
For once, Illinois lawmakers need to act in the public’s best interests, not just their own, by voting “no” to this ill-conceived legislation.
William J. Kelly is Chairman of the Safer Families Coalition