According to the Birmingham News
[Unlicensed driver laws on increase
, by Kent Faulk, January 27, 2008], police in a number of Alabama cities may now impound the car when they make a traffic stop and discover the driver is unlicensed.
The times being what they are, this sensible policy naturally provokes bleating from ... can you guess?
Critics contend such laws are aimed at intimidating illegal immigrants, who aren`t allowed to get driver`s licenses."It seems to be a good ploy, `We`re going to make life difficult for you in the United States,`" said Jose Guerrero, owner of a Spanish-language newspaper and radio station in north Alabama.
Of course such laws are colorblind; an unlicensed driver is an unlicensed driver—and shouldn`t be driving:
"Most people think we are picking on Hispanics and we are not," said Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett.Instead, police said, they are trying to cut down on the number of unlicensed drivers - no matter who they are - to cut down on the number of traffic accidents."We did have a lot of complaints about people being involved in accidents with non-licensed and uninsured drivers," said Athens Police Chief R.W. Harper. The law is "not aimed at anyone in particular."
But the resulting statistics don`t surprise:
In the first five days after the law took effect, Russellville police impounded 11 cars from motorists they stopped who didn`t have driver`s licenses. Eight of the motorists were Hispanics.Huntsville officers impounded about 450 cars in the four months since the law went into effect in mid-September. No breakdown of the drivers` ethnicity was available."While we`re not targeting Hispanics, clearly in our statistical data, in the six months prior to this ordinance, we had over 1,400 Hispanics arraigned in municipal court," said Rex Reynolds, public safety director for Huntsville. "A large percentage of that was due to no driver`s license," he said.
So same old, same old, no? But it turns out that the aforementioned Jose Guerrero must moonlight as a political philosopher, or at least a constitutional lawyer:
Guerrero contends the laws violate the rights of children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. "Those children who are riding in that car are U.S. citizens," Guerrero said.
Guerrero isn`t explicit about it, but apparently it`s a constitutional right for us citizens—anchor babies included, unfortunately—to ride in cars! Can entitlement to a new car every couple of years be far behind?