September 27, 2011

And Now: Drivers Licenses

Monique Chartier

Incrementalism is a beautiful thing.

E-verify rescinded earlier this year.

In-state tuition passed yesterday.

Now the latest: drivers licenses.

Governor Chafee said Tuesday that he is looking into the possibility that the state might issue driver's licenses or driving permits to illegal immigrants.

Responding to questions about a vote by the Board of Governors for Higher Education to approve in-state rates for undocumented students, Chafee said being able to drive would help people who need transportation to go to school or work or to look for work.

He said has spoken with officials in Utah, which he said is the only state that has established a special class of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

"I'm working on it," he said.

Question. Why would this particular group of people need a vehicle to look for or report to a job when THEY ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO WORK HERE?

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Obviously, he's striking while the iron is hot because there is such a groundswell out there for this stuff....

Posted by: Marc at September 27, 2011 4:35 PM

You don't suppose he is panicking because his labor base is slipping away do you?

Posted by: Max Diesel at September 27, 2011 4:42 PM

"You don't suppose he is panicking because his labor base is slipping away do you?"

So the best response is to encourage non-citizens into the workforce!

Posted by: Patrick at September 27, 2011 5:10 PM


How about just securing the Hispanic vote.

Posted by: Max Diesel at September 27, 2011 6:17 PM

It has been ages since I first applied for a driver's license, but don't you have to supply a birth certificate and social security card? Putting aside the fact that I think this is a bad idea, how exactly, would someone here illegally be able to furnish those documents? And if they can't, wouldn't (or shouldn't) that send up a red flag to ICE? Or is the governor just trying to jumpstart the Rhode Island economy by encouraging enterprising document forgers?

Posted by: Bucket Chick at September 27, 2011 6:36 PM

Rhode Islanders - Just so you know, fiscally conservative states with low unemployment, low tax burdens, right to work protections, and a business friendly political climate view you the same way that you view backwards, failed states like Mexico, Iran, or a Banana Republic. Your progressive, "expert"-driven, statist death spiral is a cautionary tale to those who would fashion themselves as gods and seek to crush all inequality beneath an authoritarian fist. All that will be left of your imploding progressive empire will be two Ozymandian pillars in a scorched wasteland.

Posted by: Dan at September 27, 2011 6:57 PM

I'm curious -- all of the anti-illegal immigration rhetoric on this blog (particularly from you, Monique) stems solely from the fact that these immigrants violated federal naturalization and immigration laws, right? So that, theoretically, if these laws were changed, and all of a sudden, say, all illegal immigrants in the United States were granted citizenship immediately -- all of your concerns would be eliminated. No?

Posted by: Seriously at September 27, 2011 7:40 PM

Doctrinaire Dan, never lets reality intrude in his Never-Never land of low taxes and low unemployment.

Dan writes, “Rhode Islanders - Just so you know, fiscally conservative states with low unemployment, low tax burdens, right to work protections, and a business friendly political climate view you the same way that you view backwards, failed states...”

The opposite is true. Here are some facts which put the lie to his absurd hypothesis:

“Deep Recession Sharply Altered U.S. Jobless Map; Struggle in the South; Once-Booming Sun Belt Has Fallen Behind the Rust Belt” - headline in NY Times, Sep 27, 2011.

Following are excerpts from the article by Michael Cooper:
"The once booming South, which entered the recession with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, is now struggling with some of the highest rates, recent data from the Breau of Labor Statistics show.

Several Southern states - including South Carolina, whose 11.1 percent unemployment rate is fourth highest in the nation - have higher unemployment rates than they did a year ago. Unemployment in the South is now higher than it is in the Northeast and the Midwest, which includes Rust Belt states that were struggling even before the recession.

...of the states with the 10 highest unemployment rates, six are in the South”

Currently North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi have unemployment rates of 10% or more. Of the 10 cities with the highest poverty rates in the United States three, Brownsville, College Station, and Pharr are in Texas.

Comment, Dan, but please try to keep it real, even if it does interfere with your dream world.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at September 27, 2011 8:16 PM

Agree with Max. First allow illegals a drivers license, and then might as well utilize the motor voter registration while we're at it.

Posted by: swamper at September 27, 2011 9:46 PM


The immigration laws are not random or arbitrary such that we could solve all problems by simply naturalizing all illegal aliens. For starters, why do illegals get such preferential treatment? There are millions of lawful permanent residents, many of whom had to wait years for their green cards, who have to wait three to five years more before they can apply for citizenship. Even if such a move were not grossly unfair, the immigration laws are intended to serve the economic, cultural, social and security interests of the nation and should not be tossed aside lightly. To simply declare all illegals to be U.S. citizens by fiat makes as much sense as eliminating theft by repealing all laws against larceny.


There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. The author you quoted chose to summarize national unemployment statistics in a particular way in order to support his conclusion. But he might just as easily have said that eight of the ten states with the lowest unemployment are all right-to-work states. Both of these statements are technically correct. Neither one comes close to a comprehensive analysis of all the factors that contribute to the unemployment rate.

Posted by: David P at September 27, 2011 10:01 PM

The New York Times??? That pretty much says it all.

Posted by: Max Diesel at September 27, 2011 10:28 PM

OTL needs reading glasses, or at least comprehension lessons. I never said that there is a direct link between unemployment and right-to-work, although as David points out, overall, the comparison would be favorable. Actually, I consider unemployment to be the least reliable indicator of a healthy economy because it is the most easily manipulated and depends on so many factors. It would be a simple matter for government to make unemployment 0% tomorrow by simply employing everyone, but the costs of such a course of action would be catastrophic in other areas. If you are going to compare right-to-work with anything, compare it to per capita debt. There is nearly a direct correspondence. I also did not focus on "Southern" states, as OTL implies with his irrelevant article. NH is a very business-friendly, low-tax state with low unemployment, btw, even though it is "Northern." It is very successfully coaxing businesses to make the move from high-tax MA and RI.

Still waiting to hear which "doctrine" I am supposedly following. OTL seems to be having trouble identifying it with specificity. Last time I asked him this question he blurted out something incoherent about Social Security and then retreated back into the shadows.

Posted by: Dan at September 27, 2011 10:51 PM

OTL-ever been to Brownsville or Pharr?I have-spent a little while at Brownsville when I was attending the Border Patrol Academy(the old academy was at Port Isabel,just down the road from Brownsville)-the Rio Grande Valley has always been a dead end poverty ridden place,even more so after Hurricane Camille inthe mid-60's.
I can't say the current economic climate has really made much difference down there-it always sucked.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 27, 2011 11:21 PM

Seriously are you Serious? I've lived in San Diego and now Texas. My ancestors were legal immigrants from Italy (got the documents). Illegals are a net drain on a populace. Nothing personal just the truth. Ever been to an emergency room? Guess who is paying for all that health care? That's right Seriously you are. Also there are an extremely high percentage of illegals that drive without insurance. Get in an accident with pay again. I'm serious Seriously.

Posted by: Anthony at September 28, 2011 12:18 AM


So insulting to see you scold Monique as if she's wayward schoolgirl.

I don't know how she would answer your question,but I would say no. The trouble is far deeper than violations of immigration laws.

Posted by: helen at September 28, 2011 12:27 AM

"don't you have to supply a birth certificate and social security card?"

I suppose they'd have to change those requirements too, so you could just walk in without forged documents and say "I have a car and I want to register it. Here's some sort of proof of ID." I suppose they could show whatever they used back home or their expired visa.

"wouldn't (or shouldn't) that send up a red flag to ICE?"

The overarching problem with all the immigration stuff is that ICE doesn't care if you're here illegally. They really don't. People seem to have this idea that Rhode Island is building in protections against federal law. In reality, federal enforcement of the law is next to zero, so the law is just paper. Meanwhile, we have thousands of uninsured, unlicensed drivers on the roads. My tenant was hit by a car full of undocumented, unlicensed, uninsured teenagers a few weeks ago (I have the busted car in my driveway as we speak). The responding officer just let them go, what was he supposed to do, drag them all to jail, call ICE (who won't come), issue them summons, and then let them walk into the sunset never to be seen again? From the officer's perspective, 'what's the point?'.

I'm all for allowing illegal immigrants to register and insure cars, get licenses, and get other benefits, providing they're registered in some sort of system that indicates that they're trying to 'become legal' and there's some sort of repercussions for violations of the law that are at least as harsh as what the rest of us face.

Posted by: mangeek at September 28, 2011 8:50 AM

Care about security and reducing crime? Issue the driver's licenses.

In reality, we are a much more secure nation if we do issue driver's licenses and/or state IDs to every resident who applies, regardless of immigration status. Issuing them doesn't make us any less secure, and refusing puts us at risk.

The state driver's license databases are the only comprehensive databases of U.S. residents. They're more complete, and contain more information - including photographs and, in some cases, fingerprints - than the IRS database, the Social Security database, or state birth certificate databases. As such, they are an invaluable police tool - for investigating crimes, tracking down suspects, and proving guilt.

Removing the 8 million-15 million illegal immigrants from these databases would only make law enforcement harder. Of course, the unlicensed won't pack up and leave. They will drive without licenses, increasing insurance premiums for everyone. They will use fake IDs, buy real IDs from crooked DMV employees - as several of the 9/11 terrorists did - forge "breeder documents" to get real IDs (another 9/11 terrorist trick), or resort to identity theft. These millions of people will continue to live and work in this country, invisible to any government database and therefore the police.

Assuming that denying licenses to illegals will make them leave is head-in-the-sand thinking.

Posted by: Russ at September 28, 2011 3:35 PM

With his Illegal In-State tuition policy Illegal Alien students Gov. Gump has allowed the Illegal Alien CAMEL to put his nose under the R I tent. With his driver's license proposal he'll be allowing the Illegal Alien CAMEL to get his whole head and neck under the R I tent. We must all band together to prevent him from allowing the CAMEL to stand up in the tent because the CAMEL will then cause the R I tent to totally collapse. The day the Supreme court declined to hear an appeal of the in state-tuition LAW, not policy, in Ca. the Illegal Alien Students immeadiately started procedures to request financial aid and other priviledges afforded U S Citizen and Legal Immigrant students. Their CAMEL would cost the State of California an estimated $32.2 million dollars. Let's just enforce our laws and our tent will remain standing.

Posted by: leprechaun at September 28, 2011 4:03 PM

Utah is totally republican and right wing, so it is interesting that they are doing this. Then again, Rick Perry - a red leader in a dark red state - refuses to build a fence. McCain, the republican nominee for President, wanted amnesty as well as other reform.

It would seem wrong to assume this issue is either right or left. In fact, it seems as those in the GOP are more interested in "liberal" policies, as they have more to gain from it. That is because their states use a lot more illegal labor.

Am I off base here?

Posted by: NimbyGuy at September 29, 2011 6:23 PM

If people are here illegally and it's illegal for them to work here,drive here,get government(taxpayer funded benefits) here, do they survive?

LOL. We are getting played as such suckers.

Posted by: helen at September 29, 2011 10:02 PM

nimby guy-you're right.
Immigration hasn't really been a right/left issue and has made some strange bedfellows.
Cesar Chavez had an interesting history with the immigration question.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 29, 2011 10:26 PM

Immigration: The one issue you would THINK that Rhode Island wouldn't need to worry about (what with deficits, pensions, transportation, education, healthcare, and oh yeah JOBS) -- Governor Chafee has seriously disappointed me here.

This is a clear attempt to secure the latino vote in Providence and other "dense" parts of the state -- and I'm sorry, what benefit does this provide for the RI Taxpayer? That somehow being licensed will make illegal immigrants drive more safely? Have you MET a young RI driver?

Ug. Good job Governor.

Healthcare? FAIL.
Marriage Equality? FAIL.
Building a Green Energy Manufacturing Sector like New Bedford has? FAIL.

Yeah, glad to be in DC today, emptying my storage facility and soon to be moving out west.

Again, the folks here at AR are seeming more and more "like me" all the time, even though I'm a pinko liberal commie. Meaning, I'd rather have your solutions than the ones being put forward by the Governor, the Democratic GA, or whatever labor-owned so-called progressive activist group thinks should be done.

Posted by: jparis at October 4, 2011 8:43 AM
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