James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What's Driving Got to Do With It?

What gets me about the National ID card is not only that state DMV employees are forced to become federal law enforcers, but also the very relationship between illegal immigrant status and a license to drive.

The ability to safely operate a motor vehicle on a public road (and the ability to pay the licenses, plates, fees, gas taxes, etc) has nothing to do with one's legal residential status.

Don't give me this "driving is a privilege, not a right" nonsense. There is indeed a logical connection between receiving a government benefit or payment, and keeping your nose clean. And "being" illegal would certainly qualify as that. Illegal immigrants ought not be entitled to any of the social services government provides. But a public road is not a "social service" but rather a "public good" available for all to use. And it requires the intervention of the State to even impose tests and standards to operate vehicles, and the only justification for this is the safety of the roads. In other words, driving is a right and the State (theoretically speaking) can infringe upon it only for safety reasons. Not to advance some other social agenda.

That is the "justification" for all standards of licensing - competency and ability to pay the fee, not unrelated behavior. Should a doctor guilty of tax evasion lose his medical licence? Should a lawyer lose his license because of a long-ago misdemeanor? Should either lose their driver's license?

The one has nothing to do with the other.If we are to have immigration laws, it is the federal government's responsibility to secure our borders and other points of entry and, if they so desire, to track down illegal immigrants in a manner that respects the traditional rights and freedoms of American citizens. It is no more a state's obligation to report illegals than it is a citizen's obligation to turn them in. If it is federal law, then let the feds enforce it, and don't let the feds stomp on the Bill of Rights in the process.


  1. Anonymous5:30 PM PDT

    Tell it to the dead Denver police officer, moron

  2. Anonymous fails to mention that the illegal immigrant murderer NEVER HAD a state driver's license. CRIMINALS WORK OUTSIDE THE LAW. Imagine that!

  3. Anonymous5:23 AM PDT

    It is never a good idea to elevate to the federal level anything that is more properly controlled at a local level. Driving privileges should be managed at the state level, with limited coordination at a federal level.

    As for using drivers' licenses as national ID, you really have to live in an area that has a number of illegal immigrants to understand the need for a universal ID. Law enforcement is constantly blamed for failures in indentification, when it is the lack of a functional, universal ID system that is the root of the problem.

    Limiting access to public services via ID verification (and this means a lot more than driving privileges) is the only sane way to protect the average citizen.