Illinois, which very soon will deal with the issue of driving privileges for illegal aliens, should really give serious consideration to changing the state's motto to "The California of the Midwest" from "Land of Lincoln." (LOL)
In a Jan. 3 letter to the editor of the Daily Herald, State Sen. Bill Brady and Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said:
"Our goal is not to encourage more illegal immigration to Illinois but to promote safe driving."
You bet. Who are these two kidding? LOL long ago hung out the welcome sign for illegals by making it very clear that it opposed nearly any sort of workplace verification program, e.g., E-Verify, that would keep illegals out its workforce (see Illinois reference) and in 2003 granting in-state tuition to students here illegally.
And for the benefit of you skeptics out there, none of the above has nothing to do with pandering for Hispanic votes either.
There are an estimated 600,000 illegals in LOL, and about 250,000 of them would benefit from this bill so that they could go more easily get their children to school, get to their jobs, etc.
Speaking of jobs, LOL's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent and, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, illegal aliens represent 5.6 percent of the state's workforce, or about 375,000 people. Only fools (and politicians) will argue that most of these jobs are those Americans wouldn't dirty their hands on, e.g., landscaping, dishwashing and harvesting whatever crops the state grows. Can you imagine the hue and cry from the State Legislature if it was learned that a large number of these jobs were actually in the construction, manufacturing, transportation and service industries?
As for LOL's roads becoming safer, one is hard pressed to find meaningful studies showing that an insured illegal alien is a better driver. Keep in mind as well that illegal aliens earn very little and, after they've sent money back home, how much would be left to buy auto insurance?
Should illegal aliens be given driving privileges, and it looks as though they will thanks to a milquetoasty, kiss-up Democratic governor and a Legislature that asks "How high?" when the Latino Caucus says, "Jump!" how much will the program end up costing LOL taxpayers who already are drowning in red ink?
One final note: Sen. Brady always has been pro-illegal alien, but not so Sheriff Curran. Once a staunch supporter of cracking down on illegal immigration, the latter "saw the light" a few years ago when his re-election bid ran into trouble. In other words, saving his job became more important than honoring his oath of office.
The Brady/Curran letter can be seen below in its entirety. Enjoy.
The question of immigration reform is an emotional and difficult one, and one in which the federal government must play the lead role.
As a nation, we must secure our borders, and we must provide a wider door to citizenship to those who come to our country legally. As a state, we must also recognize the cost to society of an estimated 250,000 undocumented, uninsured and untested immigrant drivers on Illinois’ roadways.
With the recent legislation to extend the current Illinois temporary visitors driver’s licenses to the undocumented immigration population, Illinois is offering another response to the lack of action from the federal government.
It doesn’t allow the license holder to use that license as identification to register to vote, board an airplane or purchase a firearm. It requires undocumented immigrants to prove their identity, be tested and purchase insurance to drive legally on our streets and highways.
Because of the agreed statutory language to prevent the use of the licenses for identification, we believe this specific bill is a reasoned response to a challenge facing Illinois today.
Untested, uninsured immigrants are driving today, and those drivers cost $64 million annually in uninsured damage claims that other policy holders must cover. In 2011, 42 percent of all fatal crashes in Illinois involved an unlicensed driver. In Lake County, for instance, 28 percent of all motorists booked for traffic offenses in the last year were undocumented immigrants who could not get licenses, burdening our public safety system.
Our goal is not to encourage more illegal immigration to Illinois but to promote safe driving. Testing, training, licensing and insuring undocumented immigrants will lead to improved highway safety and ultimately lower vehicle insurance rates for Illinois motorists.
State Sen. Bill Brady
Sheriff Mark Curran