The original AP story referenced below, titled “Dem vows friendlier face to immigrants” should be called out for what it really is: a blatant attempt to vilify Republicans like Jan Brewer and pave the “nice guy” human interest angle for the Democrats’ only viable governor candidate for 2014. Other versions of this same story included the feel-good title “Arizona governor candidate DuVal backs immigrants’ rights.” We shouldn’t be surprised. Roughly a week ago, the AP announced it would no longer be using the term “illegal immigrant.” Instead, they will be using flowery terms like “undocumented immigrant, undocumented worker or unauthorized immigrant.”
What candidate DuVal is really saying is that he supports issuing drivers licenses to individuals under the age of 18 in this country illegally who have been given work permit status by the Obama Administration. This shouldn’t be glossed over lightly by voters in this state. This is an extremely touchy issue and Mr. DuVal is proposing a serious public policy change that puts him at odds with the current governor.
But you’ve got to give credit to DuVal for running a different and calculated campaign. Just last month he announced that his campaign would be focused on “poverty.”
President Obama issued an Executive Order last summer that was essentially DREAM Act light. The DREAM Act of course would give legal status to the subset of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 years old, are no older than 30, have been in the U.S. for at least five years, have been convicted of no serious crime, and have a high-school diploma, a GED, or a stint in the U.S. military. Under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, immigrants who came to the United States as children and meet certain other criteria can apply for a work permit for a renewable period of two years. They also can obtain Social Security numbers.
Shortly after Obama’s Executive Order, Governor Jan Brewer issued her own. Her Executive Order directs state employees at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to not issue driver licenses to illegal aliens whose deportations have been suspended by President Barack Obama’s Executive Order.
About 40 states and the District of Columbia have confirmed that they are granting driver’s licenses or plan to do so for undocumented youths who received a short-term reprieve from Obama under the program in June. An estimated 1.7 million youths are potentially eligible for the program, of whom about 80,000 live in Arizona.
Illegal alien protection groups didn’t like Brewer’s Executive Order, so they decided to sue. Currently only Arizona and Nebraska have come out directly and stated that young “dream” immigrants are not eligible for licenses. A federal judge is currently listening to arguments regarding Governor Brewer’s ban on issuing driver’s licenses to illegals.
Some such as DuVal, have been quick to jump on Brewer and criticize her hardline stance on immigration issues. DuVal has been using Brewer’s immigration record as a central theme in his campaign, promising to usher in a “friendlier era.”
The problem with criticisms from people like DuVal, who claim Brewer has made Arizona “an epicenter for anti-immigration reform,” is that they fail to recognize President Obama’s Executive Order was unconstitutional in the first place. A president’s executive order only applies to federal employees and carries no force of law to anyone else. A governor’s executive order applies to state employees. Arizona’s MVD employees work for Brewer and are properly under her orders. Obama’s orders should have no authority over them whatsoever. There is law, there is process, and there are states’ rights. None of which DuVal seems concerned with when he has a chance to score some cheap political points with the press.
In 2007, disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer proposed that all illegal immigrants in his state should be allowed to obtain drivers licenses. The move for giving illegal immigrants licenses is an issue that has arisen and re-arisen multiple times, with current legislative discussions taking place in places like Maryland and Colorado. However, American citizens are seemingly overwhelmingly against this policy. In a poll released during Spitzer’s proposal, 70% of New Yorkers indicated they were against his policy. And that’s New York!
Issuing drivers licenses to young illegal immigrants has nothing to do with improved security and driving conditions. This is not going to suddenly increase the uninsured motorist population in our state. Currently, seven states in the US allow illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses: Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. This is merely another step in offering Amnesty Lite to millions of young Hispanics, accelerating the process in recruiting a whole new generation of Democratic voters.