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Scratching my head

Monday, Jan 14, 2013

* Look, I don’t think that the proponents of the soon to be law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s permits are right about every point. But, I’ve been scratching my head about this line of opposition

State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, who sponsored the bill, asserts it will make Illinois’ roads safer and save lives.

We would say that’s highly debatable. What evidence does Hernandez cite to indicate that illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses are safer drivers than those without them? Simply having a driver’s license is no guarantee that a motorist will obey traffic laws or maintain sobriety while operating a vehicle. Don’t thousands of licensed drivers break those laws and drive under the influence each year?

Apparently, the Alton Telegraph editorial board doesn’t believe that driver’s licenses are worth the plastic they’re wrapped in. I eagerly await the paper’s next editorial advocating the abolishment of all driver’s licenses as a waste of time and money, since obviously they don’t work to prevent automobile accidents.

* And then there’s this

We agree with opponents of this measure who argued that a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right, and that giving illegal immigrants the privilege to drive in Illinois legally when they broke our laws by coming here is bad public policy.

So, I suppose, then, that people who have not yet completed their parole should be denied driver’s licenses as well? How about we forever revoke driver’s licenses from anybody who has ever broken any laws?

Again, I’m not wholly in agreement with every single argument made by the proponents. But these two arguments by the Telegraph just seem like a major reach to arrive at a predetermined position.

* By the way, this is something else that Rep. Hernandez said during debate

State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) said it goes beyond simply road safety and touches on a fundamental fairness - so that if an immigrant parent taking a sick child to the doctor, they can’t be humiliated and sanctioned by the state for not being a licensed driver.

“When you have children with Down Syndrome left at the curb witnessing their parents being arrested, handcuffed and their car being impounded…that’s disgusting,” she said. “That’s distrurbing. This cannot continue.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

41 Comments
  1. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    Am I missing something? Don’t you have to take a test to be able to get a license? I presume that illegal immigrants will have to go and take the tests to prove they have the skills to be able to drive safely just like any other driver. Right now they just drive and don’t have to demonstrate any level of skill. And since they don’t have a license they are unable to insure the vehicle increasing the number of uninsured drivers. Now there is no excuse.


  2. - Fight for the Insurance Companies - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    This isn’t about safety or fairness, this is about creating a new line of revenue for insurance companies.

    That’s all.

    You can’t get insurance unless you have a drivers license.

    The only safety here is the safety trial lawyers get knowing they can sue someone and make an insurance company pay.


  3. - Billy - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    How about giving the road sign part of the test in English, since that is what our road signs are wriiten in. If they do not know the words on the signs, or the symbols, they should not be given a license. I do not want to be driving on the road with people who do not know the meaning of highway signs. Not knowing English is a danger when driving. When our political leaders find this out, they will want the state to put out big bucks, to print the traffic signs in English and Spanish. This is called not thinking ahead about the cosequences of their actions!


  4. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    signs are fairly universal so when we English speakers drive in a foreign country we usually know their street signs even though we don’t speak or read the language….same is true of foreign visitors here. It is safety and money for the insurance companies. Individual towns will be mad since they were making a fortune off ticketing unlicensed drivers


  5. - Learning the Ropes - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    Billy, I’ve driven in Germany. I only knew basic pleasantries at the time, and it had no impact on my ability to drive. That argument doesn’t make any sense… and an English/Spanish signage slippery slope makes even less.


  6. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    It is no longer enough to provide for citizens, we are now expecting government to provide for non-citizens. Wow. That’s nuts.


  7. - Steamer - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    Can’t you lose your drivers or other professional state license if you don’t pay child support or student loans? Personally, I disagree with giving a drivers license to someone who entered the country illegally. Rep. Hernandezs’ thinking is certainly flawed & letting a person get a D.L. Because they would drive anyway is wrong thinking, as well.


  8. - Skirmisher - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    Billy, I dare say that to drive in Germany you had to both show that you were in that country with the knowledge and consent of the government, and that you had on your person a valid drivers’ license from your own country. But these people are already technically criminals, having broken our laws through illegal entry. Most are no threat and many may be of benefit, plus they are here. I believe we should find a means of placing them on a path to citizenship, but one that respects our laws above their desires. So….First of all, let’s come up with a means of registering these people and issueing them the appropriate visas (Or deporting them if they are undesireable), and then talk drivers’ license after they have taken the appropriate driver training and tests. That is the only approach that makes any sense to me.


  9. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    Did anyone read the story about the young man who recently received a kidney transplant from Northwestern hospital? He was an undocumented immigrant as well.

    Illinois now provides children’s health care, in-state tuition, sanctuary state protection, “temporary visa” photo ID driver’s licenses, and so on - in addition to services such as public education, etc.

    We are on the cutting edge of blurring the lines between legal and illegal residency. Not simply in one regard, but on multiple fronts simultaneously.

    Time will tell how this plays out for our fair state.


  10. - Recidivist - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    Will they have to go through the same requirements as my 15 year old daughter? Specifically, 50 hours of driving with a licensed driver? Trust me. That’s a lot.


  11. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    “Steamer” remember no one is “given” a license. You have to prove you are able to drive, then pay a fee, then insure yourself. The penalties for not paying on child support by withholding a license I believe will also be applied to persons here illegally, so they are getting no special benefits.


  12. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    ==You can’t get insurance unless you have a drivers license==

    Not true. I was a prosecutor in traffic court a while back, and there were a few “insurance” companies that issued policies to individuals without a license. Unfortunately, if a claim was ever made against that insurance, the claim would be rejected because the driver was unlicensed. The legal requirement to have insurance, however, was satisfied.

    ==How about giving the road sign part of the test in English, since that is what our road signs are wriiten in==

    You obviously havent taken the written test in a long time, and have forgotten that the portion of the test dealing with signs simply deal with the recognition of shapes. The signs do not have any written text on them.

    ==It is no longer enough to provide for citizens, we are now expecting government to provide for non-citizens. Wow. That’s nuts.==

    What exactly is being “provided” here? Even citizens are not provided drivers licenses. You have to pass all sorts of requirements (written test, road test) and have to pay the necessary fees to obtain a drivers license. I suppose what is being “provided” is the services rendered by the employees of the Driver’s Service Facilities, but I don’t think thats what you were referring to. All too often, political discussions are framed in a way that discussed what “others” are getting at “my” expense. I think we all need to take a look in the mirror and realize that we ALL use government services in one way or another.


  13. - Bulbous1 - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    I know it’s been a while…but I seem to remember having to show two proofs of identity before getting my drivers license…and one of them wasn’t a library card.


  14. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    ===I know it’s been a while…but I seem to remember having to show two proofs of identity before getting my drivers license…and one of them wasn’t a library card.===

    I think this is part of what the bill is trying to resolve. Trying to come up with a process that allows the verification of the identity of the person attempting to obtain the driver’s license.


  15. - TooManyJens - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    ==Will they have to go through the same requirements as my 15 year old daughter? Specifically, 50 hours of driving with a licensed driver?==

    Your daughter only needs that because she’s under 18. People over 18 don’t need it to get a license.


  16. - Fred's Beard - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    ==It is no longer enough to provide for citizens, we are now expecting government to provide for non-citizens. Wow. That’s nuts.==

    We already provide driver’s licenses for non-citizens. The only question here is what documentation we are going to require as proof of age and Illinois residency, as far as I can see.

    And given that the largest single source of state revenue is the sales tax, I’m pretty sure non-citizens are contributing to state coffers. So I’m not exactly sure which “we” you are referring to.


  17. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    ===we are now expecting government to provide for non-citizens===

    Yep, we’ve been doing so since 1789.

    There is a big green statue in New York harbor. You should see it sometime VM. It has a nice inscription on it that I think you’d really enjoy.

    That’s not “nuts,” it’s America. Love it or leave it brother.


  18. - dave - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    **If they do not know the words on the signs, or the symbols, they should not be given a license. **

    Who knew that there was no a requirement to be able to read in order to be able to drive?

    And you do know that road signs are a certain shape and color for a reason, right?


  19. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    SB0957 had some definite flaws in it, as noted by the Sheriff’s Department’s concerns over the lack of fingerprinting expressed towards the last day or so of debate.

    This also accepts Consular identification cards as a valid form of ID. Not coincidentally, the Mexican Consulate in Chicago announced the week before the vote they were extending their hours of operation in anticipation of the bill’s passage. It makes sense, as a service to their citizens.

    It does not appear Secretary of State White is extending hours as a service to his citizens, however, so prepare to wait a little longer at your next trip to the DMV.


  20. - PES - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    “When you have children with Down Syndrome left at the curb witnessing their parents being arrested, handcuffed and their car being impounded…that’s disgusting,” she said. “That’s distrurbing. This cannot continue.” Perhaps the mother should have been following the law in the first place and not be driving! Giving DLs to them is not going to make them obey the law and get insurance coverage, they already disregard the law and drive illegally……….


  21. - Skeeter - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    Time to get rid of all driver’s licenses. And car registrations.

    We all know that driver’s licenses only serve as a burden on law abiding citizens.

    The bad guys will always drive no matter what sort of license restrictions you have. As such, why do we burden good law abiding Americans with a law that will not prevent the bad guys from getting cars and instead just serves to punish people who want to engage in their fundamental right to interstate travel?

    This is just a slippery slope to having the government seize all of our fast cars.


  22. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    So, if you are taking a kid to the DR/ER all laws are suspended? If someone is taking their Kid to the DR/ER and they get stopped and have Drugs on them, should they be let go? I do not get her argument…..


  23. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    ===“…wretched refuse…”===

    Interesting that you chose that phrase. I think it says a lot about your viewpoint on the subject.

    My point was that since its founding, the United States government has welcomed immigrants by extending to noncitizens almost every government service available to natural born citizens. Xenophobia may be popular now, and sometimes laws were enacted that codified xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment, but this country was founded on the idea of liberty and was largely built by people who were born, or whose parents were born, elsewhere.


  24. - Just Observing - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    === This isn’t about safety or fairness, this is about creating a new line of revenue for insurance companies. ===

    What is your source for this? Moreover, if you are involved in an accident with an undocumented person — I’m pretty sure you are going to want them to have insurance.


  25. - Endangered Moderate Species - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    Skeeter at 11:07

    You are making me laugh. Quit it!


  26. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    My grandfather left school after the 2nd grade and yet could tell a stop sign from an railroad crossing sign. So yeah, I don’t think you need to be fully literate to be able to pass the written test.


  27. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    According to already existing law, the signs pictured have to be in English. The test itself can be English, Spanish (specificially listed) or any other language if the Secertary of State agrees to a request for that language.


  28. - Coach59 - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    It is all about collecting more revenue! They said this bill might effect 250,000 people will multiply that by the cost to get a license! Also you might see some or most of the people purchase cars now the state will collect of license plates and titles!


  29. - G. Willickers - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    Those opposed to “illegal” immigrants seem to forget the “illegal” action is a misdemeanor, not a felony.

    Following their “logic”, opponents should want to revoke the drivers licenses of jaywalkers too.

    @ Vanilla, I hope you don’t get sick or hurt in another country which might require visiting a hospital and, as a non-citizen, partaking of their citizenry’s socialized medicine. :)

    Heck, don’t even drive or walk on sidewalks in a different country since, as a non-citizen, you didn’t pay the taxes that built those roads and sidewalks. Wouldn’t want those poor souls to provide for you, a non-citizen.

    You could’ve just said, “Get off my lawn” and left it at that. LOL.


  30. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    Does this special drivers license come with a promise that offials will not arrest and deport the holder if and when the prevailing government mood changes? Does it also come with a promise that the holder’s name and address will not appear in the newspaper like what recently happened to New york gun owners?

    Am I missing something here? If you are in the US illegally, do you really want to walk into an IL Secretary of State Office and admit it? Are you naive enough to believe that the current “let’s find a solution” trend won’t morph into “hunt’em down” if the economy deteriorates more than it has and the voters put a few Joe McCarthy types in office?


  31. - Kevin Highland - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    My question would be is this going to turn Illinois into a sanctuary state. How hard will it be to “generate” the proof of residency for a year. The 250,000 people could turn into 1,000,000.

    Since they are here illegally that means one of two things. Either the state misses out on income taxes as they are paid under the table or that many more people nationwide have their identity stolen.


  32. - Skeeter - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    Interesting that Rocketman thinks all undocumented workers are named “Juan Gomez” as opposed to, I don’t know, “Aurelia Budzinski.” Either Rocket has never visited the northwest side of Chicago, or perhaps more likely, Juan being in the country bothers him more than Aurelia being in this country.


  33. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===but now we have more people living off the government than we have taxpayers. How nice of a distinction we have!===

    That comment was deleted for other reasons, but it’s ironic that the person who is soooo concerned about people living off the taxpayers actually posted from a state government computer.

    Sheesh.


  34. - Bemused - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    I do not know if the new law is good bad or otherwise. I do think CCC has it somewhat right. How many of those folks will take advantage of it.

    During my days as a Union Organizer I had the need to contact work crews made up of Illegals. It took years to make real contacts and gain some degree of trust. First off you do not talk to just anyone on the crew, you need to find the lead guy. It would be disrespectful to the leadman for someone below him to tell you anything. Learned that the hard way.

    The point being if you did not convince that lead person you were okay you were wasting breath on the others. We will see how that goes. The guy I had the most contact with was from Honduras. Most of his crew grew up within fifty miles of his village. His was the final word on most things.

    To kind of clarify things, the official position of my organization was not to worry about who they were or how the got on the job. We felt wages and benefits should be the same for all doing any given trade.

    We felt that Employers useing the workers legal status to supress wages was the real problem. Of course the public does not want to pay the real cost for services that better wages would bring.


  35. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    === actually posted from a state government computer ===

    LOL! Only @CapFax. Gotta love it.


  36. - zatoichi - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    “When you have children with Down Syndrome left at the curb..” Pulling the disability card is right up there with the race card, sex card, or any other specialized card. Wrecks whatever arguement you were trying to make. No license? Take mass trans, cab, get a friend, church member, or walk.


  37. - Insuranceboy - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    My hope is that any illegals that get a license also get insurance! There are numerous accidents involving uninsured drivers and the insured drivers get stuck. I doubt this will happen, but that is my hope.


  38. - fultonfarm - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 8:38 pm:

    What is there about the concept of being here illegaly that escapes so many?

    And make no mistake about it more illegals means ever more illegals.

    The message is out, our laws mean nothing.

    Remember the 1986 Amnesty bill. The one that would be the last amnesty bill and would provide solutions.
    The politicans lips are moving again.


  39. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 9:13 pm:

    Fultonfarm, according to the Lakota people, we’re all illegals. Glad to know your ancestors made it here on the Mayflower. Mine came on a coffin ship from Ireland more recently. And my ancestors came for the same reason that today’s immigrants come: in search of a better life.

    What part of liberty don’t you understand?


  40. - reformer - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 9:37 pm:

    == these people are already technically criminals, having broken our laws by illegal entry. ==
    The fact is that unauthorized entry is a civil violation, not a criminal offense.


  41. - 10th Voter - Monday, Jan 14, 13 @ 9:39 pm:

    “What is there about the concept of being here illegaly that escapes so many?”

    Please tell us what part of that concept we are missing FultonFarm. Is it the fact that exclusion makes us feel better about ourselves? I know I appreciate that I don’t have to go to a foreign country by myself to work long hours at a manual labor job to send money home to my family. And I don’t have to worry if anyone is coming for my parents or me because I was born here but they weren’t. The lack of care for other humans sure doesn’t escapes me.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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