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Wisconsin State Budget Must Include Driver Certificates For Undocumented Immigrants

June 23, 2009

The emotions of this matter need to be set aside so the facts and rationale can be placed front and center.  Yesterday in the Wisconsin Statehouse a rally was held to underscore the need for driver certificates to be issued for undocumented workers.    There was a wide swath of Wisconsin represented at the rally as law enforcement, the dairy industry, labor groups, and religious organizations all made their voice clear.  This  is a matter that deserves attention this week in the budget process.

While it has been noted that some, such as State Senator Tim Carpenter, staunchly oppose this matter being in the state budget, it is not clear if his opposition is based on his own beliefs, or if he wishes to only represent the desires of his district.  I think if  Carpenter were allowed to vote his convictions he would allow these driver certificates to be in the budget.  The pressure from constituents, it needs to be noted in many cases, comes with a far too ample supply of bigotry that gets thrown into the mix, and detracts from the issue at hand.

The reason we are even talking about driver certificates for undocumented immigrants is that Congress passed a law in 2005 which allows drivers licenses only for those who are citizens, or have legal status.  But that criteria does not include all those who actually use the roads.   The federal law also allows states to issue driver certificates to those who do not have a social security number.  However, in 2006 the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a law that added social security as a requirement for obtaining a drivers license.   Sadly, the legislature had no interest in allowing for driver certificates.

Therefore there needs to be a change in Wisconsin law to provide for driver certificates for undocumented immigrants, as the federal law currently allows.  The reason that this change should be made is quite obvious.  Safer roads will result from better drivers who are licensed in some manner, and who are also insured.  The last part will save us all money.

There is no doubt among all the interested parties to this issue that the drivers who are either licensed, or have the driver certificates, are safer on the road, have fewer accidents, and have a higher rate of being insured.  In areas where cars are a needed form of transportation there is no sane argument for using ones immigration status as a reason to deny a drivers license, or driver certificate.

Fairness and safety should trump the other more base reasons, thus assuring that this matter gets placed in the state budget.  And it needs to be done this week.

Come on Senator Carpenter, I know you can do the right thing for the State of Wisconsin.

6 Comments
  1. June 24, 2009 3:57 PM

    Patrick,

    I am thinking pragmatically.

    The undocumented workers in this nation are here, and not about to leave.

    They work and make the nation’s economy tick.

    To pretend otherwise is not rational.

    To think they are going away is not logical.

    So….matters such as licenses need to be addressed.

    I agree with those who have addressed them.

    My point is (based on what is our there in the airwaves and internet) that the opposition has no facts to offer to counter except to argue about the poeple this would effect.

    I lined up the dots and connected them.

  2. Patrick permalink
    June 24, 2009 2:57 PM

    So on every issue where a person of color might be involved, you can only think in racist terms. Why are you so prejudiced? “Illegal” means illegal. To suggest that everyone else is a racist is pretty poor thinking.

  3. June 24, 2009 2:28 PM

    Follow the national discourse on this matter from the headline grabbing stories in New York state, to the dialouge on talk radio about this issue.

    People are not debating the license, they are debating the poeple who will get the license.

    If you look at the facts of safety, insurance, and pure morality it all leads to one conclusion. The licenses should be granted.

    If you look at the facts as they exist on why poeple oppose this matter is all comes down to ‘illegal brown skinned poeple’.

  4. Rich Jessen permalink
    June 24, 2009 2:16 PM

    Why do you reflexively call a citizen who opposes your idea a bigot? Is that reaction not prejudicial in nature? All ideas must be entertained in the arena of public opinion without judgement from either side. Persuasive arguement is the method to use, not name calling.

  5. Red Barron permalink
    June 23, 2009 11:48 PM

    A Drivers license does not make for better drivers, just ask the families of three young people killed by a license driver last week in Green Bay. All you are doing is rewarding bad behavior by people who have little respect for the law.

  6. Patrick permalink
    June 23, 2009 7:38 PM

    Call me a bigot, but I don’t believe that providing certificates will ensure better drivers, increase the number of illegal aliens who are insured, or encourage illegal aliens to present themselves to the government.

    First, Wisconsin does not require that all drivers carry insurance, so why would illegal aliens buy it? Especially since the budget bill encourages those with insurance to drop it?

    Secondly, why would a certificate encourage safer driving? Suppose an illegal alien who is already in the country against the law did not pass whatever road test–only a fool would then believe thay would stop driving.

    Thirdly, driving is not a right, and we are under no obligation to surrender a certificate to one who blatantly ignores the laws of the state. Considering their unlawful status, who would present themselves to the authorities for scrutiny? And if they did present themselves, how would we ever accurately document their true identity? What insurance company would be stupid enought to write a policy on one of these drivers?

    So which of these arguments is not sane? While it is bigotry to despise someone because of their ethnic background, it certainly is not bigotry to respect the law.

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