The debate over the New York State governor's plan to give driver's licenses to all citizens of New York state has raised the level of concern of this issue across the United States. However, what is striking is the lack of awareness on the part of Maine residents about how easy it is to obtain a Maine driver's license. The Portland Press Herald recently posted two guest editorials on November 21, 2007 about this issue - "Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants divisive issue).
This is a no-brainer! Why are we giving driver's licenses to individuals who cannot prove they are a U.S. citizen or legal resident, who don't have a valid social security number, who don't even live in the state of Maine and who are here in the United States illegally?
Our country has a huge illegal immigration problem. Not issuing a driver's license will lessen the amount of people who will stay illegally in the United States and cause others to think about coming here in the first place. Providing illegal immigrants with a license means it is easier for them to blend in without getting caught and makes it easier for them to "work" the system to allow them to stay here illegally.
Illegal immigration is a drain on our many social and educational programs that are struggling to provide basic needs to our own poor and disadvantaged U.S. citizens both here in Maine and across the United States. Providing a driver's license, which is the "default national identity card", makes illegal immigrants eligible for these many programs such as welfare, school attendance for minors, free medical care, housing assistance, and food stamps.
Our growing identity theft problem is a matter of grave concern. Many of our citizens have been victimized by this crime and it takes a long time to fix your credit rating after being a target of identity theft. When someone establishes a new identity he starts by getting a driver's license - it goes on from there. The illegal immigrants are, in part, a root cause of this rise in identity thefts across the nation.
And let us not forget about other crime issues. Many illegal immigrants come here to better their lives; but there is a sizable number of them that are committing crimes and living "below the radar". Just look at the percentage of illegal immigrants in our prisons.
Finally, we have to really analyze the effect of allowing illegal and undocumented persons to have access to a driver's license and how that relates to security and terrorism. (Remember 9/11?). A driver's license allows you on airplanes, grants you access to all sorts of federal and public buildings, makes it easy to rent a car or truck, and provides identification that will allow someone the opportunity to further "document" his identity.
Maine really needs to give this issue a lot of thought!