The Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, in a Sep. 2005 study titled "Driver's Licenses For Undocumented Aliens," offered:
"Those who favor licenses for illegal immigrants say that licenses provide more information about who is living in any given community, help undocumented residents better understand driving laws and road rules, help keep bad drivers off the road and improve our national security. Those who oppose licenses say giving undocumented immigrants driver's licenses offers government approval of their illegal immigration status which could lead to even further immigration in the future. They also claim that national security is at risk if undocumented immigrants are allowed such licenses."
Should Immigrants in the United States Illegally Be Allowed to Obtain a Driver's License?
Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center and former Director of Immigration Policy Research at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), in a Sep. 5, 2003 WorldNetDaily article titled "Davis to 'Legalize' Illegal Aliens Today?" said:
"We believe everybody who drives a car should have a driver's license. It's better for all of us if all drivers are properly licensed and insured. It makes us all safer. Undocumented people are going to be driving, regardless if they have a license. So let's give everybody one."
Roger M. Mahony, Cardinal and Archbishop of the Archdioceses of Los Angeles, in a Dec. 1, 2003 California Catholic Conference of Bishops' "Statement on Repeal of SB 60," stated:
"The licensing and verifying the true identity of all drivers in California, with proper background checks and other security measures, will contribute to improved security for all Californians. Drivers who are educated in the rules of driving, who pass required tests, and who carry automobile insurance contribute to the overall safety and security of all drivers on our roads.
We call on our new Governor and the members of the Legislature to work together for the common good of all Californians, and to craft appropriate legislation which both assures that proper security requirements are in place for all licensed drivers, and assists our immigrant workers and families in contributing to the prosperity of all in our State."
The Mexican American Legal Defence and Educational Fund (MALDEF), in a Jan. 2004 presentation entitled "Immigrant Access to State Driver’s Licenses: A Tool Kit for Advocates," stated:
"Immigrant driver’s license restrictions demonstrably do not deter illegal immigration, but they do cost lives. State Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) are charged with guaranteeing the safety of our roads and highways, but they neither have the resources to enforce, nor are they effective in enforcing, federal immigration policy...
While increasing our national security is critical, restricting driver licenses (DLs) is an inefficient way to enforce immigration laws and prevent terrorism... Furthermore, press accounts since September 11 have called attention to the fact that the hijackers had obtained DLs when, in fact, the terrorists did not need U.S.-issued DLs to board the planes on September 11; they had foreign passports that allowed them to board.
In fact, denying driving licenses to large segments of the population makes everyone in the community less safe. Restricting DLs results in unsafe roads, higher insurance rates, and overwhelmed court systems... Restricting DLs results in the proliferation of false documents."
The Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, in an Dec. 17, 2004 press release entitled "Not Issuing Driver's Licenses to Illegal Aliens Is Bad for National Security," offered:
"If 13 million people living within our borders can't drive, fly, travel on a train or bus, or otherwise participate in society without a driver's license and they cannot get a legitimate one, then the market will supply them an illegal fraudulent one...
On the other hand, if illegal aliens are allowed to get legitimate licenses upon thorough vetting of their identity, then the only ones who will be trying to get fraudulent documents will be terrorists or criminals...
Fourteen states currently allow driver's licenses to be obtained without showing 'legal presence.' These laws were enacted for public safety reasons -- to ensure that drivers meet some standard to drive and to lower insurance premiums by decreasing the pool of unlicensed and uninsured drivers...
The analogous arguments hold for national security -- the more we can encourage otherwise law abiding people within our borders to participate in the system the easier it will be to identify those that pose a true threat."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th. Governor of California, in a May 23, 2006 speech retrieved from the Office of the Governor website regarding the upcoming visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to California, offered the following remarks:
"I'm against the driver's license for undocumented immigrants... until we can prove who the people are, we cannot give driver's licenses because of security problems that we have. When we can prove that, when we can see who is that person, and then can do the background check, then we can go into that and say, 'Okay, now we can go and give a driver's license.'"
Elaine Alquist, MA, California State Senator (D-San Jose), introduced a state bill SB 976, on Mar. 5, 1993, which in section 1, subsection (d) mandated:
"The department shall not issue or renew a driver's license or identification card to any person who does not establish proof that he or she is a citizen or a legal resident of the United States... It is a misdemeanor for any person to knowingly assist in obtaining a driver's license or identification card for any person who is not a citizen or legal resident of the United States under federal law."
[Editor's note: This bill was signed into law by 36th Governor of California Pete Wilson on Oct. 4, 1993]
Cass Ballenger, MBA, U.S. Representative (R-NC), in a Sep. 17, 2002 press release on his co-sponsored Drivers’ License Integrity Act, H.R. 5322, argued:
"In too many cases a person's immigration status is not even an issue in granting a license or ID. Clearly, we must address that shortcoming, as it has direct bearing on our national security... A driver's license or state identification card is an essential tool, used by illegal aliens to solidify their presence here and to move about freely. This is a clear threat to our safety and economic security."
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), in an Oct. 2005 website section titled "Driver's License Security," offered the following:
"In an increasingly security-conscious America, access to driver's licenses by people in the country illegally poses serious risks and undermines U.S. immigration law. Proponents of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens have argued that it would improve national security and road safety. The security argument is spurious, because illegal aliens often use aliases and phony documents, so the alien’s identity and residence is not established as a result of the driver’s license process...
The argument about road safety relies on a faulty assumption that if illegal aliens are legally licensed to drive, they will all have accident insurance. But even if a state requires automobile insurance as a condition of getting a license, that does not keep an illegal alien from canceling the policy the next day. Illegal aliens generally are working in low-wage jobs and have difficulty affording insurance, and their cars are frequently older and more accident-prone.
Additionally, illegal aliens often are not able to read road alerts in English. In many of the countries from which illegal aliens come, it is standard practice for motorists involved in accidents to flee the scene. The combination of these factors adds up to the probability that, if more illegal aliens were encouraged to drive by issuing them driver’s licenses, it would lead to more accidents caused by uninsured motorists and many would be hit and run."