Governor Gray Davis has opened a significant breech in the nation's Homeland Security by signing a bill allowing illegal immigrants to obtain Drivers Licenses (DLs) that bear the official seal and full governmental authority of the State of California. Sometimes referred to as the “keys to the kingdom,” DLs provide identification, allowing one to open bank accounts, make certain purchases and obtain a job. DLs also serve as the sole ID needed to travel abroad to Mexico, Canada and some Caribbean countries. They allow easy access to air travel and car rentals. It is a requirement for obtaining a firearm. Through the convenience of the Motor/Voter act, obtaining a DL even grants the right to vote, a fundamental right for which generations of American blood has been shed and the one sacrosanct facet of citizenship. But increasingly, even in the post 9/11 atmosphere of heightened security, states are giving away the keys to our country to those who aren’t even citizens, and are in fact, here illegally.
“How can states be allowing illegal immigrants drivers licenses which are, of course, the keys to the kingdom, the passport to American society,” lone immigration reform crusader U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) wondered recently. “How many immigration policies are we going to run in this country? Are we going to let every state in the nation create its own immigration policy? Every city create its own?"
“We’ve had the mayor of Washington, D.C., propose essentially that anybody here, any resident, be able to vote regardless of citizenship status,” Tancredo noted. “This is happening in cities all over the country. This is bizarre to say the least.”
A recent FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) report highlights how states are undermining immigration enforcement and throwing the door wide open to terrorist infiltration. Along with Sanctuary policies mandating non-cooperation between local and federal law enforcement, FAIR cites the issuance of DLs to illegals as one of the key breakdowns in homeland security, a conclusion shared by both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
“All 19 of the 9/11 terrorists possessed one or more of state driver’s DLs, which they used to blend in, rent apartments, open bank accounts, and, ultimately, to board the airplanes they intended to crash,” the report notes. “The decision by 13 state legislatures and governors to give driver’s DLs to people in this country illegally—people about whom we know nothing—directly hinders federal efforts to address the homeland security threat.”
Gun Owners of America Communications Director Erich Pratt told Frontpagemag.com that obtaining a drivers license would “absolutely” make it easier for illegal aliens to purchase firearms throughout the country. “The background check only bounces names against real bad guys…so yes, if they have what would seem to be proof that they are a legal resident—obviously there would be nothing on the drivers license to indicate that there were an illegal resident—then this really greases the skids of being able to purchase firearms from gun stores,” Pratt explained.
On the second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the families of those murdered—9/11 Families for a Secure America (FSA)—convened on Washington, D.C., to air their grievances over the continued lax immigration policies supported by lawmakers concerned only about their careers and lobbyists with specious ulterior motives.
“It is clear that the lawyers, lobbyists, ethnic power brokers, ideologues, business profiteers and misguided do-gooders who don’t care about the security of their fellow Americans will never stop working to keep America’s borders open. Beyond any doubt, since the murder of my son and 3000 other innocent people on 9-11 these people have shown by their actions that they will never sacrifice their power, profits and ideology for the safety of the American people as a whole,” Tom Meehan said at the FSA press conference. “And we 9-11 families have learned since the murder of our loved ones that this president and most members of congress will not do the right thing unless they are forced to do so by the 70 percent to 90 percent of Americans that polls show want drastic and immediate immigration reform.”
Lynn Faulkner, who lost his wife in the World Trade Center, pointed to politicians “both liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat” that continue to push for open borders and loose immigration standards. These include: Democrats like Senators Ted Kennedy (MA), Charles Schumer (NY), Hillary Clinton (NY); U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA); 2004 candidates for U.S. President Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), Sen. John Kerry (MA), former Vermont Howard Dean, Sen. Robert Graham (FL), and U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (MO). Faulkner’s list also included Republicans like Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Sam Brownback (KS), Charles Hagel (NE), Richard Cornyn (TX), Richard Lugar (IN), Don Nickels (OK); U.S. Reps. Christopher Cannon (CA), Nancy Johnson (CT), Jim Kolbe (Ariz.), and Jim Leach (IA).
“Though the specifics of the 9-11 attacks may have been unknown to the politicians listed above and Bill Clinton and President Bush, they had to know that additional attacks would follow, and that the only way to keep terrorists…out of our country was to screen the people who seek to enter,” Faulkner said. “Therefore, we say without any reservation, that the members of Congress the current President and his two predecessors contributed to the murder of our family members and the thousands of other victims of September 11.”
In a callous attempt to save his political career from recall, Democrat California Governor Gray Davis recently signed legislation allowing approximately 2 million illegals to obtain DLs, legislation he has twice vetoed in the past citing security issues. The new law, containing even looser standards than those twice vetoed, allows federal taxpayer ID numbers or another non-defined state-approved form of ID, changing the old Social Security number requirement. Most disturbingly, it allows the use of Mexican government issued Matricular Consular IDs, over which the federal government has no regulatory oversight.
Calling the Matricula-acceptance practice “idiotic,” Tancredo detailed how in some regions ATM style machines located near consular offices are available to provide Mexican birth certificates, the sole requirement to obtaining the Matricula. A nominally enterprising person from any country could obtain the Mexican ID and in turn a valid California drivers license. Since Matriculas have been proven non-secure despite Mexican government claims (many illegals, in one case an Iranian, have been caught in possession of multiple Matriculas, with multiple names) this provision could open the floodgate to identity theft and make for a law enforcement nightmare.
Thus with the stroke of his pen, while blatantly pandering to the Latino vote, Davis quashed his state’s border with Mexico. Far from a single-handed act, he was aided and abetted by the Democrat dominated California legislature, particularly by bill author Sen. Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles). Cedillo has been pushing such legislation for years under the thin premise that new licensees will have increased incentive to obtain auto insurance coverage, in turn improving highway safety. An ardent member of the taxpayer-funded MEChA (the racist Latino student movement demanding annexation of all southwestern states) at UCLA in the 70’s, Cedillo once said illegals have a right to stay because “they were here first.” Given the illegal constituency's interests there is little doubt who they will pull the lever for in the upcoming elections at both the state and national level.
“I’d like to thank Gov. Davis because up until last week, how many people in this country knew that illegal immigrants were getting drivers licenses,” FSA member Grace Godshalk, whose son was murdered in the WTC, asked. “Here and there you would see something in the press occasionally, but when Gov. Davis used this as a political tool, passing a bill that he had turned down many times, because now he’s in jeopardy and it shows you how political this is and how immigrants are being used.”
Once the law takes effect January 1, 2004, California will join13 other states that issue DLs regardless of immigration status (Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, N. Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and W. Virginia). Under federal law all 50 states must honor any DL issued in any other state. Other states are considering adopting similar policies such as Massachusetts and Arizona.
The move has not gone unnoticed by those tasked with securing our nation from the threat of terrorism at home. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary of border and transportation security recently said, “Certainly we have to review our policy among inspectors on the border and their reliance upon driver licenses. If you do not have integrity in the driver licenses that are issued, the integrity of those documents, the security of those documents, then it really undermines the whole premise of allowing U.S. citizens to travel abroad and come back with limited proof of U.S. citizenship, without a passport.”
More than 160 thousand people cross the border in San Diego daily where simply flashing a state DL allows them to be waved through. It promises to be a focal issue in the upcoming California gubernatorial recall election. Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, a recall candidate, said the only reason for issuing state approved identification to illegals “is to undermine...our immigration laws.”
“What Governor Gray Davis has done by signing this bill is put politics before the people of the state of California,” Assemblyman Tony Strickland (R- Thousand Oaks) said at a press conference.
“The California legislature…failed the people of California. Governor Gray Davis failed the people of California when he signed the bill into law. He said he didn't care about California, but he cares about his job in Sacramento. It's about a last-ditch effort to save his career,” said Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-Monrovia).
The California Republican Assembly (CRA) has issued a call for a referendum to stop the new DL ordinance. They hope to obtain the 373,816 signatures of registered voters within the next 90 days to make the March 2004 ballot. CRA President Mike Spence commented, “To lower the standard for getting a driver's DL in this era of al-Qaeda and the era of identity theft is an attack on every citizen of California.” The CRA has started a website to support the petition drive.
Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has yet to comment on the referendum, has vowed to repeal the law if elected governor.
Campaigning against his recall at the Mexican Independence Day parade in Los Angeles, Davis was met with cheers and took the opportunity to disparage Schwarzenegger for his opposition to the measure. “I don't think he recognizes how California is changing. . . we all depend on the hard work of all the people who live here, citizens and immigrants alike,” Davis told the press.
In a debate sponsored by minority news outlets Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, another MEChA member and only Democratic recall candidate stated “People who work hard and pay taxes must have a DL to go to work.”
On the federal front, Tancredo introduced legislation in response to Davis's DL give-away that would restrict federal highway funds to states that provide drivers licenses to illegal aliens. He has also suggested withholding federal Homeland Security funding. Speaking on the House floor Tancredo observed that “it usually turns to the use of funds to get States to do the right thing.”
This carrot and stick tactic failed to pass the house in June when Tancredo filed a bill to restrict Homeland Security funds to cities that have Sanctuary policies. He hopes that this time around the political will to act is there.
“There are, I think ... obvious implications to lax border enforcement and confused immigration policy. After 9/11, we should be enormously concerned about it. Even those people who have been reluctant to support immigration reform in the past should be willing to support the national security agenda that includes a tightening up of immigration policy,” Tancredo said.
Such willingness apparently hasn’t reached partisan groups adamantly opposed to tightening immigration standards, regardless of the clearly defined threat to national security. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) distinguishes between illegal aliens seeking work and terrorists seeking destruction and mayhem. Brent Wilkes, LULAC national executive director, chastised Tancredo for legislation that would “violate states rights” when they try to “give a break” to illegal aliens. Asked if the state of Florida was giving a break to 9/11 ring leader Mohammed Atta when it issued him a DL, Wilkes replied that Atta was a terrorist, not an “immigrant.”
“Was Timothy McVeigh an illegal alien? He was a terrorist. Let’s put terrorists in one category and let’s put immigrants in another. There’s a big difference and if you can’t tell the difference you certainly don’t have any business being in Congress or trying to run this country,” Wilkes told Frontpagemag.com. “There’s a huge difference between terrorists and immigrants and the folks who are trying to lump them together just want to punish immigrants. They’re distracting the country from focusing on terrorists.”
Yet FSA members dispute LULAC’s assertion and question its underlying motives.
“Those who oppose us resort to calling us anti-immigrant or racist. This is just a lie. There are 13 members of the Board of Directors of 9-11 Families for a Secure America. One is an immigrant herself. Eleven more are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. One is Hispanic. One was married to a Hispanic immigrant who died on 9-11. One is African American,” Godshalk explained. “We are not anti-immigrant, we are pro-security. On the other hand, the open borders interest groups have proven their willingness to sacrifice the security of all Americans, and the lives of thousands, for the purposes of their own gain.”
As the second anniversary of our nation’s darkest hour passes, opportunistic politicians are recklessly tossing up the keys to our country for those with ill-intent who we know continue to seek infliction of even greater harm to our citizens and the wholesale destruction of our nation. In their greed and zeal for personal power, these politicians would deny our ability to maintain the sovereignty purchased by the blood of heroes dating from 9/11 back to the Declaration of Independence. They are bolstered by insidious hate groups like MEChA, funded by our own tax dollars that have openly treasonous agendas. This republic is ours to keep, but we will be hard pressed to do so if egomaniacal career politicians selfishly insist upon giving it away.