Driver's licences for Illegal Immigrants? What do you think this is, a world gone haywire? Yes says Bill Shipp -- Immigration-related posts, Part I
In a current column captitioned "A World Gone Haywire -- In another time, no one would have taken seriously a demand for legal driving privileges for foreign lawbreakers. That time has passed."
Has our world turned upside down? Have our elected representatives abandoned us? Is there no outrage left?
The Legislature will shortly approve extending to illegal immigrants, many of whom can’t speak or read English, the privilege of holding Georgia driver’s licenses.
You can take the above prediction to the bank. California recently approved driver’s license privileges for that state’s million-plus illegal residents.
The first tentative moves have been made to do likewise in Georgia. Bills have been introduced. About 150 demonstrators showed up at the state Capitol last week to demand legal drivers’ licenses for illegals. That is just the beginning.
Hardly any ranking Georgia official raised a voice against the idea. Or if he or she did, it was articulated so softly as to be inaudible.
In fact, state Rep. Curt Thompson, D-Norcross, said he thought it was high time that illegal immigrants received legal driving privileges. “I think the other states have looked at this issue and decided it’s better for safe driving conditions, better for insurance issues and better for national security,” he was quoted.
Hey, pal, driving would be safer, insurance rates lower and our nation more secure if our government enforced immigration laws. The Twin Towers in New York would still be standing, 3,000 people in this country and 1,000 GIs in Iraq might still be alive and our airline and tourism industries might still thrive, if our government had enforced immigration laws.
In another time, no one would have taken seriously a demand for legal driving privileges for foreign lawbreakers. It would have been akin to asking gun toters to register their firearms or proposing an end to Confederate Memorial Day.
That time has passed. Illegal immigrants are now as much a part of the Georgia culture as grits. Georgia needs illegals. Several industries in our state depend on their low-paid labors.
Lobbyists on the national and state levels are working behind the scenes to make certain that illegals get the documents they need most to continue working here. Thus, the demand for drivers' licenses.
Government sources estimate that 228,000 illegal immigrants reside in Georgia. The true number may be as high as 1 million. No one knows for sure.
However, tax-paying citizens throughout the state know this for sure: Non-English speakers have swamped several school systems, reducing the quality of education measurably. Uninsured and illegal Mexican immigrants routinely overcrowd emergency clinics, seeking treatment for every imaginable ailment, minor and great. Local law enforcement in a dozen jurisdictions is stretched to the breaking point.
Still they come by the thousands, these illegal workers seeking a better life and a piece of American prosperity.
One might believe the illegal-immigration problem is a ready-made political issue that would stir up angry taxpayers. One would think formerly xenophobic Republicans or once-racist Democrats would go haywire over the subject. Sorry, such is not going to happen.
The issue is barely mentioned in mainstream political circles. President George W. Bush has proposed granting amnesty to illegals. Sen. John Kerry’s wife, Teresa, contributes huge sums through her charities for legal support of undocumented immigrants.
Both political parties patronize the illegals, hoping for more voter support from the Latino community.
Those who advocate enforcement of immigration and naturalization statutes are eyed suspiciously and treated as if they were out-of-touch cranks.
Make no mistake. The driver’s license issue is not just about safe motoring and better insurance coverage. A legal driver’s license, more than any other document, is an unquestioned key to American society and to services of all kinds.
Ask any state official how he or she intends to address this most serious matter of public policy. You may be lectured on the need to prevent the scourge of gay marriage or receive a detailed description of the horrors of a rarely performed abortion procedure. But don’t expect to receive an adequate response when you broach the tidal wave of unlawful immigration that is engulfing our state. The subject is nearly as touchy as the out-of-control killing in Iraq.
Let’s face it, taxpayers, we have been betrayed.
P.S.: Before you click the "send" key on that email, know this: The lady who has put up with me for more than four decades is an immigrant who dutifully reported her green-card status for years before she became a naturalized citizen the old-fashioned way. She learned the language, passed the tests on civics and history and swore her allegiance to the United States. Why can’t the current swarm of immigrants follow that example instead of demanding privileges even as they break our laws?
Dean, I could say you need not worry about getting an email of the nature you hint or any other nature from me. But you know that would be a fib on the latter part.
I have already sent you one yesterday that read "Tough Dean, tough. And all God's people said Amen brother, Amen."
This summer I caught flap at an NAACP forum when I was one of only two candidates in a field of eight Democrats would not commit to working to allow all immigrants from Haiti to enter the United States, the logic being because practically this is the situation with Mexico.
I noted that two wrongs would not make a right, and that with Haiti as with other countries, we have political asylum laws in effect.
This was not the politically correct answer the forum wanted to hear.