On the surface, I suppose, it would be easy to agree with the proponents of giving driving permits to people in the state of Texas that either entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas and are here illegally. After all, we want drivers on our roads to be qualified and insured, right?
But when you get below the surface, it gets a bit murkier and not quite as clear as some of the proponents want to make it. I mean, seriously, if someone is here illegally and making barely enough to survive by mowing lawns or whatever, what are the chances that this person is going to spend a large chunk of his or her paycheck to purchase insurance? Pretty much zero is my guess.
Then you get the argument that people have been here for “decades” and suddenly can’t renew their licenses and it is a security issue, not an immigration issue.
That 2011 measure has left undocumented immigrants who drove legally in Texas for decades unable to renew their licenses or buy insurance, a problem that has caused major headaches for law enforcement officials across the state.
“It’s good for law enforcement. It’s good for security,” said Rep. Roberto Alonzo, who authored the measure, House Bill 3206. “We have already gone past the immigration debate and now we’re into the law enforcement debate.”
What a load of bovine processed hay. If someone has been here illegally for “decades”, that would be two – remember that 1986 amnesty law? Which means these people were part of the flood that started after that “final” amnesty and basically prove the point that the current version of amnesty will only bring more people here illegally. You cannot possibly say that giving driving permits to people here illegally is not an immigration issue with any credibility.
One of the downsides of an emotional issue is the overreaction by either side. In this case, the proponents of the effort to legalize illegal drivers in Texas are way over the top. One of them, Bob Price, who blogs over at TexasGOPVote.com, went so far as to call Rep. Van Taylor’s refusal to allow the effort to legalize illegal drivers to be attached to a bill he is supporting “cowardly“. Yeah, the same Rep. Van Taylor that won a medal for valor:
Born in Dallas, Representative Taylor earned his Eagle Scout at age 13. He graduated from Harvard College in 1995 and joined the Marine Corps. After graduating from intelligence, infantry, sniper, and airborne schools, Taylor led a Marine reconnaissance platoon. Following four years of active duty, he joined the Marine Corps Reserves to continue serving his country while earning a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
As a Marine Officer and paratrooper, Captain Taylor volunteered for duty as a platoon commander with the Marine Corps’ C Company, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. He deployed to Iraq where he fought with 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company. Taylor led the first platoon into Iraq for his brigade and led a mission that rescued 31 wounded Marines during the pitched Battle of An Nasiriyah. For his service in Iraq, the Marine Corps awarded Captain Taylor the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Navy Commendation Medal with “V” for valor.
Wow. If Bob wants to call Rep. Van Taylor “cowardly” that’s his right. But the fact is that the bill that Rep. Van Taylor was pushing was a pilot program allowing the Texas Department of Public Safety to reduce crowding at their offices by partnering with certain county commissioners. Nothing whatsoever to do with legalizing illegal drivers, immigration, or anything else related to the issue. Thus, Rep. Van Taylor was correct in his decision to call a Point of Order and that is why the chair sustained it. There isn’t anything “cowardly” about using correct parliamentary procedures to get a bill passed.
Are people that are in the USA and driving without insurance a problem? Certainly. You want to fix it? How about requiring proof of citizenship before you are able to purchase a vehicle? Get to the root of the problem. Legalizing illegal driving is not the way to go. Of course, the same people supporting legalizing illegal driving would most certainly oppose requiring proof of citizenship to purchase a vehicle because deep down, they really don’t want the “problem” solved.
Let me ask the supporters of legalizing illegal driving a question: Would your approach have stopped Andres Munos-Munos from killing Sgt. Dwayne Polk last night? Or would giving people here illegally some sort of quasi-legal status encourage even more people to come here illegally? I’m betting that it would be the latter.
I think that Rep. John Smithee has it right:
Some Republicans remain staunchly opposed to the bill. Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, said that, although supporters have made some convincing arguments, he still sees the proposal as “primarily an immigration situation.”
“The whole premise that the state of Texas is going to provide to people who are not even here lawfully a state-issued permit for what is really a privilege is contrary to … how we’ve traditionally done things here in Texas,” he said.
For another view, see mi amiga Karen Townsend’s Texans Deserve Protection Afforded by Cook Amendment.