Talk about crazy confluences!
Last Tuesday, May 10th, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the REAL ID bill, as well as additional funding for border and interior enforcement.
The same day, a New York State judge ruled it doesn't matter if you are in the country illegally—the NY DMV cannot use immigration status to deny you a driver's license:
"In a blunt ruling, Justice Karen S. Smith of State Supreme Court in Manhattan chastised the State Department of Motor Vehicles, saying it exceeded its authority in 2002 when it imposed the restriction. She said such decisions were up to state lawmakers. Justice Smith said she recognized that the department had rushed to implement new rules, which require applicants to present either valid Social Security numbers or legal immigration papers, in an effort to tighten security and combat fraud after Sept. 11. But she said the agency 'cannot be an enforcer' for federal Homeland Security authorities. 'It simply lacks expertise and, more importantly, it has not been empowered by the State Legislature to carry out that function,' the judge wrote." [Denial of Driver's Licenses to Many Immigrants Voided, by Julia Preston, May 11, 2005]
So let's not cooperate between government agencies?
I thought that was what appointing a new Director of Intelligence was all about.
This decision not to be an "enforcer" is akin to seeing a robber entering your neighbor's house and not calling 911 because it isn't your house.
The Times' Preston notes that
"The ruling came in a lawsuit filed on behalf of five immigrants by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. [Contact them] The suit challenged several practices by the Department of Motor Vehicles, including a plan to suspend the licenses of about 252,000 drivers, many of them immigrants, who gave Social Security numbers that were found to be invalid in a department investigation."
New York's "practices" were a fine example to other states of how to end what has been a loose and ridiculous failure to establish proper ID before issuing a document that has become the primary method of personal identification all over the US.
The NY State DMV Commissioner, Ray Martinez, has been using Social Security numbers to verify when an applicant is legally here. He calls this practice "common sense" and plans to appeal the judge's decision.
Hopefully, with the US citizenry as conscious of their endangerment—many Federal buildings in DC were evacuated on May 11th when an unidentified aircraft came into the wrong zone–a higher court will be brave enough to overturn Judge Smith's decision and allow Commissioner Martinez to continue what is an obviously sound approach.
The good news: Martinez's lawyers note that the judge's ruling will not actually change the NY State rules, while this case is going through the court system.
We can only pray that more public officials such as Mr. Martinez will be working to insure our safety and national survival. We are at war and the chances of an attack loom large.
And illegal immigration already amounts to a full-scale, taxpayer-subsidized invasion.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.