Saturday, March 18, 2023

OCPA column: Time to address illegal immigration, uninsured drivers [by giving lawbreakers licenses]

OCPA really is doubling down on giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants (by definition, repeat lawbreakers). So much for believing in the rule of law, eh?

Time to address illegal immigration, uninsured drivers
By Jonathan Small

There’s a link between illegal immigration and uninsured driving in Oklahoma. Those who enter our nation illegally cannot easily obtain auto insurance, yet they still drive on our roads every day. When those illegal immigrants are in a car accident, the other driver is then left footing the bill either out of pocket or through higher insurance premiums.

The best solution to this problem is for the federal government to control our nation’s borders. But, knowing that is not likely in the immediate future, state policymakers must take action to mitigate the harm caused by the federal government’s failure.

One way to reduce a share of the problems created by illegal immigration is for Oklahoma state lawmakers to authorize driver’s licenses for some illegal immigrants—even though that may sound counterintuitive.

Lawmakers in the Oklahoma Legislature have introduced House Bill 2114 and Senate Bill 669. Both measures would create a way for people who file taxes but are illegal aliens to receive an Oklahoma driver’s license.

The license process would involve a few small differences from the normal process. First, the associated fees would be higher than for licenses issued to citizens.

Second, the licenses would clearly indicate the holder is a non-resident, which will prevent the licenses from being used as proof of citizenship or legal residency.

Third, the license information would be reported to voter registration officials.

There are several benefits to this proposal. Only those filing income taxes—in other words, illegal immigrants who are gainfully employed—would benefit. Having a driver’s license would make it easier for those individuals to obtain car insurance. By some estimates, if signed into law these legislative proposals could reduce uninsured driving in Oklahoma by up to 75 percent. That would benefit all Oklahomans and drive down our high auto-insurance rates, which are inflated today because of the routine cost-shifting created by uninsured drivers.

The bills also provide election-security safeguards. For the first time election officials would have data on non-citizens and could ensure those individuals are not on voter rolls and illegally voting.

I do not claim these proposals are ideal. In a nation where the rule of law was enforced and border security prioritized, these bills would not be necessary.

Oklahomans are rightfully angry about the flood of illegal immigration into our nation and state. The federal government has completely failed to secure our borders and also made it extremely cumbersome to obtain legal access to this country. Local families bear the burden of the resulting chaos in many ways.

But killing either of these two bills will not reduce illegal immigration. In contrast, passing them will help offset some harm created by illegal immigration. It’s better for state policymakers to do whatever good they can, when they can, than to wait for years hoping the federal government will suddenly change course on border security.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

1 comment:

  1. They should never be given a drivers license in this state or any other state. They should be deported out of our state and the employer that employees them should be punished.
    I am for anyone that enters our country legally, but coming in illegally, they are criminals and should be treated as such.


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