Whose Side are the Politicians On?
|Driver’s Licenses = Pseudo Amnesty
In a flip-flop to court the Hispanic vote, California Governor Gray Davis signed a bill (which he had rejected twice before) to allow illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses. Shamelessly pandering, he signed it on September 5 in front of a crowd of hundreds of immigrants and illegals who released balloons while chanting “No recall!”
A driver’s license is colloquially known as the “keys to the kingdom.” It is the “breeder document” that enables an alien to acquire all sorts of fraudulent documentation. A driver’s license is pseudo amnesty and just as much “sheer lunacy” as real amnesty; a driver’s license confers identity; it works to erase the distinction between legals and illegals.
A driver’s license is not merely a license to drive a car. It gives the illegal alien a passport to board a plane, get a job, rent an apartment or a car, open a bank account, enter a federal building, sign up for social services, travel back and forth across our borders with Mexico and Canada, buy a gun, and even register to vote.
Under current law, only residents with a Social Security number can obtain a driver’s license, and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) checks its validity with the Social Security Administration. Under the new law, aliens can instead present an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) issued by Internal Revenue Service, but those numbers are worthless for identification purposes and IRS won’t share its information anyway.
Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) calls the new law an “invitation to forgery” for terrorists and criminals. That’s because the new system (which lacks any credible identity check) will allow criminals of any nationality (even U.S. citizens who already have a driver’s license) to apply for a new license under a phony ITIN and use it for illegal purposes.
An internal DMV memo obtained by KCRA-TV shows that the financial cost to California taxpayers will be immense when the law takes effect January 1. When the two million illegal aliens now in California queue up for their first-time driver’s licenses, DMV says it will need “1,000 new positions to be located in 16 new temporary field offices for 12 to 18 months of operation.”
Gray Davis ignored the big lesson of 9/11. All 9/11 hijackers had one or more state driver’s licenses, which enabled them not only to board the fatal planes but also to live and travel in our country undetected while they plotted their crimes. Seven of the 19 hijackers boarded the 9/11 planes with driver’s licenses obtained from Virginia, which did not then require proof of identity from applicants (but has since remedied that dangerous policy). New Jersey, another state that provided driver’s licenses to 9/11 hijackers, now requires applicants to prove they are legally in this country.
Unfortunately, California is not alone in allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. Fourteen other states do likewise: AK, CT, ID, LA, MT, NV, NM, NC, RI, TN, UT, WA, WV.
The issue has become a political hot potato in states where illegal aliens have congregated. A sign-waving, slogan-shouting crowd rallied in Atlanta on September 16 to demand that the Georgia Legislature allow the estimated 228,000 illegal aliens in that state to get driver’s licenses.
The General Accounting Office told the Senate Finance Committee on September 9 how easy it is to get fake driver’s licenses. In two out of three attempts, federal investigators were able to get driver’s licenses from motor vehicle departments using fraudulent driver’s licenses from other states, birth certificates, or Social Security cards.
The effects of giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens can ripple into other areas such as enabling them to attend some state universities at in-state rates. Illegal aliens are now prohibited from buying or transferring firearms but, since gun transfer forms rely on the honor system to establish citizenship (just like voter registration documents), the driver’s license will be a boost to the firearms smuggling rings operating in southern California. Hallye Jordan, a spokesperson for the California Department of Justice, conceded, “If they lie on their dealer record of sale and say, ‘yes they are a citizen’ when they are not, there is … not going to be a further check completed.”
Californians are collecting signatures to repeal the new driver’s license law by referendum. In the meantime, Congress should pass Rep. Tom Tancredo’s (R-CO) bill (H.R. 3052) to withhold federal highway funds from states that give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, just as Congress has done to force the states to enact acceptable laws about seat belts, speed limits, alcohol content, and the drinking age.
Fortunately, this covert mischief was discovered in time and denounced by the American Legion, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
The bureaucrats got the message and announced they are going back to the drawing board. We don’t want them to go back to the drawing board; we want them to cancel the whole idea. The BCIS has a big job to do in keeping terrorists and hatemongers from other cultures out of our country, and they shouldn’t be spending any time trying to rewrite the oath of citizenship.
There is nothing the matter with the current oath, and there was no public demand to change it. It is really outrageous that the nameless bureaucrats tried to make this change without authorization from Congress and without allowing any public comment.
The BCIS spokesman said his agency wanted the oath to be less arcane and more meaningful. That argument is nonsense because the agency’s proposed rewrite is less meaningful than the present oath.
Those who become naturalized Americans are required to take this oath: “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” The redundancy (“absolutely and entirely,” “renounce and abjure,” “subject or citizen”) is clear, emphatic, and essential.
The BCIS revision would substitute: “I hereby renounce under oath all allegiance to any foreign state.” That’s simply not good enough. Osama Bin Laden is not a “foreign state,” but he does come within the definition of “foreign prince, potentate or sovereignty,” and his minions are his subjects, not his citizens. Did BCIS think it is no longer important for naturalized citizens to renounce loyalty to the likes of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda?
The current oath of citizenship further states: “I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law.” The BCIS revision is not satisfactory. It omits the familiar American expression “bear arms” and instead gives the naturalized citizen the option of defending the United States “either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service.” No wonder the American Legion objected.
The BCIS revision requires new citizens to perform this service only “where and if lawfully required.” Are there occasions when such service is unlawfully required?
The BCIS cannot be trusted to produce any substitute revisions. The bureaucrats should be cut off at the pass by congressional passage of Senator Alexander’s proposed legislation to make the current oath of allegiance the law of the land.
Our current oath of citizenship is a superb statement of what loyalty to America means: both swearing allegiance to the United States and renouncing all allegiance to wherever and whoever the new American came from. New citizens who swear the current oath, “so help me God,” absolutely cannot retain any loyalty to their former country or ruler.
And there is no excuse for ever administering the Oath of Citizenship in any language other than English. According to the law, applicants to become U.S. citizens must demonstrate “an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak . . . simple words and phrases . . . in ordinary usage in the English language.”
Rather than rewriting the current oath of citizenship, the BCIS ought to be busy revoking the citizenship of those who violate their solemn oath.
The Mexican government has been openly telling Mexicans who have become naturalized Americans that they can also retain their citizenship and loyalty to Mexico. The U.S. oath of citizenship makes that a moral and legal impossibility. On March 20, 1998, Mexico passed a law that purports to reinstate Mexican nationality for Mexican-Americans who have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Mexico has since issued tens of thousands of documents to naturalized Americans who came from Mexico.
On July 9 a naturalized American, Andres Bermudez, was elected mayor of Jerez, a city in Mexico, declaring himself a “candidate of two nations.” Our government should revoke Bermudez’s U.S. citizenship, as well as the citizenship of all other naturalized Americans who ran for public office in Mexico or voted in Mexico’s elections.
If we tolerate duplicity with the solemn oath of citizenship, we are opening the door for more mischief in the future. Dual loyalty is an insurmountable barrier to assimilating naturalized citizens into the American culture.
America welcomes immigrants — but only if they want to become loyal Americans, support and defend our Constitution, obey our laws, learn our language, and honor their oath of citizenship.
California’s problem was caused by the federal government’s failure to enforce our immigration laws plus the pandering to the illegals by Governor Gray Davis and his administration. Californians tried to protect themselves from this federal default in 1994 when nearly 60% of the voters passed Proposition 187 to deny most state-funded services to illegal aliens.
A single Jimmy Carter-appointed federal judge overturned the vote of the people, sitting on the case until Gray Davis became Governor, who then kept Prop 187 permanently inoperative by refusing to appeal this judicial outrage. Despite a decade-long smear campaign by the people who profit from open borders, surveys show that Prop 187 would easily pass again if it were re-submitted to the voters.
Two authors have just presented a wealth of documentation about the high price Californians are paying for accepting this flood of low-cost labor from south of the border. A groundbreaking investigation by Fred Dickey of the Los Angeles Times shows how illegal aliens are “creating a Third World chaos in the California economy,” and the new book Mexifornia, by Hoover Institution fellow and Cal State Fresno professor Victor Davis Hanson, sets forth the disastrous economic and moral results of our open-borders policies.
The Los Angeles Times reports that 950,000 illegals live in the five counties of Greater Los Angeles. Their economic activity is mostly underground, which means the employers pay low cash wages, no overtime, no benefits, and no taxes. Businessmen who don’t go along with this under-the-table racket are at a 20% disadvantage with their competitors. Los Angeles black talk-radio host Terry Anderson says the same auto-repair jobs that blacks used to hold at $25 an hour are now worked by illegals at $8.
John Chiang of the State Board of Equalization, California’s tax oversight agency, estimates that the state loses $7 billion a year in unpaid taxes because of the underground sector. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 30.6% of Hispanics receive means-tested government benefits compared to 9% of whites, and tax revenues simply can’t keep pace with the rising demand for government services.
Of course, the illegal aliens don’t have health insurance, so when the hospitals (which are forbidden to ask about citizenship) accept them as patients, the costs are loaded onto the backs of local taxpayers and patients who do pay their bills. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the cost of medical care provided to illegal aliens in California last year was $980 million.
California schools are an academic and financial disaster. Even though California spends $2.2 billion to educate children who are illegally in this country, nearly half of Hispanic adults have not graduated from high school.
Mexifornia describes how a de facto alliance of the Corporate/Libertarian Right and the Multicultural Left has unwittingly reduced the standard of living for workers of all races and spawned a virulent and separatist race industry. The book shows that the illegal Mexicans don’t assimilate like Italian, Jewish and Polish immigrants of earlier times, but instead congregate in impoverished communities where only Spanish is spoken.
This cheap-labor separatism creates a two-tiered economic and social structure. The illegals have no hope of rising into the middle class and become increasingly resentful of the system in which they remain forever doing menial jobs to maintain Americans in a lifestyle that, by Mexican standards, appears to be one of ostentatious luxury.
Almost a fourth of all inmates in California prisons are from Mexico. Hanson describes the young illegal aliens who vandalize, steal, and deal drugs, and their anti-U.S. attitude that “It’s our land anyway, not yours.”
Hanson makes the moral argument that current policies have undermined our common culture and harmed the very people the politicians claim to help. He calls for “sweeping restrictions on immigration,” an end to the “separatist ideology,” and a “stronger mandate for assimilation” emphasizing American culture and language.
The private reception in Jackson was attended by eight Indians, one of whom, Paresh Shah, specifically questioned the President about his stand on the bill introduced by Rep. Tom Tancredo (H.R. 2688) that calls for terminating H-1B visas. Shah told the Indian news service IANS: “Bush spread his hands as wide apart as possible and stated unequivocally that ‘Tancredo and I are at opposite ends of the pole. I fully do not support Congressman Tancredo’s bill against H-1Bs’.”
H-1Bs are visas made available to corporations to import foreigners to work in the United States. Currently, there are an estimated 900,000 H-1B foreigners employed in the United States (35% to 40% of whom are from India), mostly in jobs for which there is widespread unemployment among American citizens. Shah was also quoted by the Indian newspapers as saying that “the L-1 visa program is heavily used by the Indian community.” The L-1 is another type of visa used by corporations to import lower-paid foreign workers to replace Americans.
This isn’t the first time that American jobhunters got their up-to-date employment news from faraway India. On June 14, the Economic Times of India published a report that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick assured India that its workers who come to the United States on H-1B visas will receive Social Security benefits even though they don’t comply with the rules American workers must meet. The Economic Times of India reported that India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Jaitley said in Washington, D.C. that Zoellick “gave him the assurance,” and that Jaitley also met with Commerce Secretary Bob Evans who presumably confirmed this assurance.
In order for Americans to receive Social Security benefits, we have to pay taxes into the system for 10 years or 40 quarters. Those who come here from India on H-1B visas are allowed to work here for three years and get one three-year extension, for a total of six years (not ten years).
“Totalization” is the bureaucratic buzz word to describe executive agreements to give foreigners employed in the United States Social Security benefits to which they are not entitled. A similar “totalization” plan is now cooking in our State Department to give Social Security benefits to Mexican aliens, even if they are in our country illegally.
A second India-based news source, Rediff.com, reported another comment by Minister Jaitley at that same Washington event. He said that Zoellick promised India (and Jaitley said he quoted Zoellick’s exact words) that “the federal government opposes it and is trying to resist it.”
“It” refers to the attempt by New Jersey and some other states to ban the outsourcing of taxpayer-paid services to foreign countries. New Jersey taxpayers created an uproar earlier this year when they learned that their state officials had outsourced the handling of calls from the state’s welfare recipients to operators working in Bombay, India. At least 12 state governments and nine federal agencies have outsourced computer work to be performed by foreigners whose wages are paid by American taxpayers.
Employees of EDS, a company based in Plano, TX, first found out about their company’s outsourcing plan from an Indian newspaper. The next day, EDS announced the elimination of 2,700 jobs.
Another bit of employment news that we learned about only from the Economic Times of India was datelined March 21 from New Delhi. It reports that the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS) has taken several steps to promote the entry of more foreign nurses.
Corporations are induced to import foreign workers not only because the cost of their wages and benefits is substantially less, but because many federal laws (open-borders policies plus the promiscuous granting of H-1B and L-1 visas) encourage discrimination against American workers. Outsourcing jobs to a site in a foreign country enables the corporations to avoid the numerous regulations with which U.S. businesses must comply.
The following email (one of many I’ve received) dramatizes the impact on individuals: “I’m a victim of the outsourcing of high tech jobs. I was a Systems Analyst/Programmer. Our bought-and-paid-for Congressmen increased the number of H-1B and L-1 visa workers to cover the ‘shortage.’ Now, I’m reading that the same thing is happening to the medical industry. This is déjà vu. The irony is that I retrained to be a Medical Office Billing Specialist. I thought that if I trained for a small town type of job, I would be safe. Now I find that outsourcing is going to be eliminating that opportunity for me also. I can’t tell you how discouraged, disheartened and depressed I am at what is happening to my country. I can’t sit idly by while the economy of my country is being dismantled piece by piece. Can you help me?”
President Bush and Members of Congress, are you listening?