There are approximately 10 million undocumented workers in the United States. This number continued to rise as people from economically disadvantaged countries cross the border into Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. One of the facets of the illegal immigration is granting driver’s licenses to these undocumented workers. According to the recent statistics, about 2 million undocumented motorists are currently driving in the United States without issued driver’s licenses (“Driver’s Licenses…”, p.1). Opinion polls reveal strong resistance to issuing driver’s license for illegal immigrants. Those citizens who favor driving licenses for illegal immigrants argue that licenses provide information about illegal immigrants and contribute to better understanding of the driving rules. Thus, the roads are kept safe from bad drivers and the national security in improved. Those citizens who oppose driving licenses note that giving illegal immigrants licenses is identical to approval of their illegal immigration status which may lead to more immigration. Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants should not be allowed because it puts national security at risk.
Issuing any form of identification leads to legitimization of immigrant’s illegal status. Under the Title 8 Section 1325 of the United States Code, any person who is the citizen of the country other than the United States who enters the United States eluding examination is considered an illegal immigrant (“Driver’s Licenses…”, p.1). Moreover, the 9/11 Commission Report on terrorist attack included a recommendation to federal government requiring standardization of identification documents including driver’s licenses. The Real ID Act (January 2005) sough to ban the states from issuing driver’s licenses to people who cannot prove their legal status in the United States.
If states issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, they erase the distinction between legal citizens and illegal immigrants (“Drivers Licenses…”, p.1). The problem is that many states do not verify applicant’s identities: the valid Social Security number is not required to get a license. As the result, it is easy for illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Furthermore, driver’s license allows illegal immigrants to obtain additional documents. For example, all of the 9/11 hijackers had driver’s licenses that could be used to open ban accounts, board planes, and rent housing. Driver’s license will not make American roads safer because illegal immigrants have already broken the law and will most likely continue to break American law.
As Mike Spence, the president of the California Republican Assembly, notes, “by granted licenses to people who break the law, we are rewarding that behavior” (Hunter, p.1). Granting licenses to illegal immigrants has numerous economic, cultural, and security ramifications. In Tennessee, for the example, the Division of Motor Vehicles decided to issue driving certificates stamped with ‘not valid for ID’ to undocumented immigrants. This decision should become the part of the national effort to strengthen the license laws and improve the national security.
In conclusion, issuing driver’s license to illegal immigrants makes it easier for terrorist to obtain identification. Currently, there is no national law on driver’s licenses and the opinion of legislators in divided on the issue. The research reveals that granting driver’s license to illegal immigrants compromises the national security. When the state issues driver’s license to illegal immigrant, the rights of citizens and non-citizens are equated. Illegal immigrants entered the United States in violated with the American law and, therefore, they should not be granted any rights.
“Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Aliens.” Institute of Governmental Studies University of California. 2005. Web.
“Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens.” The American Resistance. 2008. Web.
Hunter, Kathleen. “States slow to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.” The State Online 2004. Web.