Put the Brakes on Massachusetts Licensing Bill [PHIL-OSOPHY]
A refiled version of HD 448 and SD 273 is back on Beacon Hill. It's a revived bill that would allow untold thousands of undocumented immigrants to obtain a standard Massachusetts driver's license.
The Democrats hold a supersized majority in both branches, so I'm surprised they haven't passed a bill like this before now. And from what I'm hearing, the roll of the dice is favorable for this legislation to pass this time around.
I'm going to explain my position, but let me know, do you support issuing driver's licenses to immigrants in the United States illegally?
Those who favor this legislation say being tested, licensed and insured would create a safer Commonwealth, and that licenses are a privilege that all drivers, citizens and noncitizens alike, must earn through testing. If someone proves their driving competence, it will reduce the number of uninsured drivers, creating more equitable insurance costs. They say we ought to put the safety of all motorists ahead of the politics of immigration. That makes sense, but I still have some issues with this.
It's as if our Commonwealth is offering illegal immigrants a goodie bag brimming with benefits, at the taxpayers' expense, which is why we have experienced some of the largest increases in illegal immigration of any state in the last decade.
I'm a first-generation descendant of immigrants, and I encourage and support legal immigration, but by issuing a driver's license that legitimizes the presence of those who've come into our country illegally, we can't verify any criminal or health histories. The driver's license is the single most important piece of homeland security information, and yet our lawmakers propose giving that to people with no definite proof of identity.
Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States has worked hard to build a federal/state system of identification. Allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses would compromise that system.
It most likely will eventually pass, but it's still up to voters to send state lawmakers a clear-cut communication.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.