Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita nationwide, according to the U.S. Census and refugee-support agencies. With 2 percent of the nation’s population, Minnesota has 13 percent of its refugees.
“Minnesota has been a magnet,” said Bob Oehrig, director of Arrive Ministries in Richfield, an agency that handles refugees. He said Minnesota has what refugees want — jobs, good social welfare programs, and plenty of people from their home country.
According to the American Immigration Council, Minnesota also has a sizable immigrant community, much of which emigrated from Mexico and India. Foreign-born residents account for over 8 percent of the state’s population, while 7 percent of residents are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent.
With such a large number of foreigners living in the state of Minnesota, it’s no wonder lawmakers are pandering to their needs, as they work to ensure they get all of the same benefits (or more in some cases) as an American citizen.
According to the Star Tribune – The Minnesota House is poised to pass a measure Friday that would give all immigrants the ability to get driver’s licenses, even if they are in the country illegally.
“Immigrants, whether they are documented or undocumented, are Minnesotans. They are part of the fabric of our communities … It is time that we helped take away this shadow of not having a driver’s license,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, D-Golden Valley, said at a news conference ahead of the vote.
The measure originally would require that the licenses be labeled “not for voting” on the back side. It was amended on the House floor to require that the voting restriction appears on the front of the licenses. It also states that election officials and judges must be informed to not accept the identification when registering voters.
The Democratic majority in the House has made the change a top priority, but the measure has not progressed in the Republican-controlled Senate. Winkler said the proposal also is included in the House’s broad transportation bill, a way to try to bring it to the end of session negotiations even if the Senate does not act.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, has called the chances that the bill would pass his chamber “small.” He told The Pioneer Press earlier this year that he is concerned about “rewarding people that are here illegally” and instead wants to focus on addressing long waits for Minnesotans trying to get driver’s licenses.
Immigrants, regardless of their status, previously were able to obtain licenses in Minnesota if they could pass the driver’s test and buy insurance. That changed in 2003 as part of a broad effort to beef up security in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Numbers USA uses facts to dispel the false arguments Democrats use when debating the need for illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. So what’s the myth vs. reality?
Myth vs. Reality
Illegal-alien advocacy groups rely on the assertions below to justify the issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Each appears reasonable on its face, but none holds up under scrutiny.
Myth 1: Illegal aliens are going to drive no matter what so issuing them licenses will improve the safety of our roads by ensuring that they have passed a driving test and purchased automobile insurance.
In 2004, automobile accidents resulted in about 42,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries in the United States. The vast majority of the people involved in these accidents were licensed, insured drivers, so the correlation asserted by the advocates is tenuous at best. Moreover, most illegal aliens are low-wage workers who send a significant portion of their earnings to their home countries in the form of remittances. They have little incentive to spend their wages on car insurance, and even less incentive to wait for the police to arrive after an accident since contact with law enforcement authorities could result in deportation. Finally, this suggests that we just accept the inevitability of illegal aliens’ presence in the United States and treat them as lawful residents undermine our belief in law and fairness. No one would suggest that we not lock our doors because burglars are going to break in anyway.
Myth 2: Law enforcement officials will be better able to track illegal aliens if they are licensed, since their personal data will be entered into driver’s license databases.
This claim holds out the promise that law enforcement officials would actually use DMV data to locate and remove illegal aliens. Of course, the very same advocacy groups that use this argument would protest endlessly if such enforcement were proposed. More importantly, though, illegal aliens would not apply for licenses – and certainly would not provide their real names or addresses – if they knew the data would be used to track them. Many already use false names and/or addresses to obtain licenses, just as the 9/11 terrorists who obtained licenses in Virginia did.
Myth 3: DMV employees would have to become immigration experts in order to know which documents they can accept as proof of lawful presence.
It would, in fact, be burdensome if DMV employees had to know which immigration documents are legitimate and which are not. That is precisely why the federal government created the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system. SAVE is an automated system that allows state and local government officials to verify immigration documents. DMV employees would simply have to enter the document number and the name of the bearer into the computer and wait for an answer. Welfare agencies and certain employers have been using the SAVE system for years to verify immigration documents, so there is no reason DMV employees could not use it as well.
In response to the 9/11 attacks, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) acknowledged the importance of ensuring that state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards are accurate and can be relied upon as proof of the bearer’s identity. Betty Serian, Chairwoman of AAMVA’s Special Task Force on Identification Security, acknowledged that driver’s licenses are much more than just a license to drive. As the most widely accepted identity document, their reliability has a direct effect on homeland security: “When you can verify an individual’s identity you are one step closer to preventing fraud, protecting privacy and saving lives.”
In post-9/11 America, security is of the utmost importance. There is now a greater need for reliable identification to ensure that our planes, trains, buildings, and communities are protected against terrorist threats. The issuance of state ID cards and driver’s licenses to illegal aliens undermines our safety. The 9/11 Commission addressed this issue squarely:
Secure identification should begin in the United States. The federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as drivers licenses. Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem of theft. At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether they are terrorists.
In February, Univision published a handy little guide for people who are living illegally in the United States. In their article, Univision suggests that if you’re living in the U.S. illegally while Trump is President, you should always carry proper documentation and make sure you have the phone number of an immigration lawyer memorized.