Spitzer Driver's License Plan Raises Security Concerns

October 23, 2007 01:41 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s intention to permit illegal immigrants to qualify for driver’s licenses faces objections that it will endanger national security and increase voter fraud.

30-Second Summary

On Sept. 21, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced his intention to lift the rule requiring driver’s license applicants in his state to possess a valid social security number (SSN).

Opponents of the bill have argued that removing the SSN requirement will increase instances of voter fraud. But their most incendiary accusation is that the move will compromise national security. 

These concerns are rooted in the fact that Spitzer’s plan will allow many of New York’s illegal immigrants to acquire a document that is frequently used to board domestic flights, enter federal buildings and obtain firearms.

A number of commentators have focused the debate on whether 9/11 might have been prevented had stricter driver’s license requirements been enforced in 2001.

On CNN, Brooklyn senators Martin Golden (Republican) and Kevin Parker (Democrat) argued just that point. Parker claimed that “nobody in 9/11 was undocumented”; a claim contested by Golden.

However, the senators may have missed the crux of the issue in concentrating on whether the terrorists entered the country legally.

Anti-immigration organizations NumbersUSA and FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) have each produced a report on licenses and the 9/11 terrorists. Both documents conclude that if the hijackers had been unable to use driver’s licenses, the authorities might have picked up on certain “terrorist indicators” in their passports.

In contrast, Spitzer’s office and the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), David Swarts, contend in their press release that “bringing more New Yorkers into the system will ensure a greater number of people have a license record that, if necessary, can be used to enhance law enforcement efforts.”

Headline Links: Critics round on Spitzer

Opinion & Analysis: CNN coverage and immigrant rights

Lou Dobbs on CNN

Reference Material: NumbersUSA, FAIR and related legislation


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