Argument: Offering illegal immigrants drivers licenses is a national security threat

Issue Report: Drivers licenses for Illegal immigrants in the US

Supporting quotes

  • “Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens Is a Recipe for Disaster.” testimony given by Michael Cutler at the New York State Senate Hearing on Governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to provide driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. 10.17.2007 – “The issuance of driver’s licenses is an issue of particularly grave concern, especially in this perilous day and age. The United States has no national identity card. While many countries around the world issue such documents, the United States does not. However, the humble driver’s license serves as the de facto national identity card today. When we board airliners or AMTRAK trains, we are asked to produce our driver’s license. We also need to show them to enter many office buildings and federal buildings. Driver’s licenses are used for business transactions, especially when we need to prove our identities when we pay by personal check or by credit card. We even use driver’s licenses to check into hotels. Driver’s licenses are one of the documents that can be used in support of the I-9 form that employers are required to have new employees fill out when they hire them in an effort to prevent illegal aliens from gaining illegal employment.
It is easy to see that a driver’s license does far more than document our authority to drive vehicles; driver’s licenses enable us to do our daily business. The driver’s license enables us to establish our identities to the satisfaction of those we interact with on a daily basis.
In so many ways, the driver’s license is the platinum card that opens so many doors.
The terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 understood the value of driver’s licenses in establishing false identities for themselves. According to a report known as the “9/11 Staff Report on Terrorist Travel,” the 19 terrorists who launched that horrific attack against our nation in the aggregate used a total of 364 aliases and variations of names. In order to establish these various false identities they acquired a number of different sorts of identity documents including driver’s licenses in false names. The use of these false names made it all the more difficult for law enforcement to track the movements and activities of these malevolent individuals as they prepared to launch their attacks against our nation.
There is another issue concerning driver’s licenses that I urge you to consider. When an individual travels by airliner or train, he leaves a paper trail that can be followed if law enforcement officials are able to find out the names under which they traveled. By having a driver’s license, a criminal or terrorist has the perfect means of traveling in “stealth mode.” With a license, an individual can move freely around the entire country without leaving a paper trail if he pays his tolls by cash. This is yet another way that a driver’s license makes the work of those dedicated law enforcement officers who work tirelessly each and every day to try to keep us safe and our nation secure.”
  • “Rewards for Illegal Aliens – Driver’s Licenses”. USA Education and Research Foundation – “State-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards open doors of opportunity in the United States. Not only does the driver’s license grant Americans the privilege to operate a vehicle, it also is widely accepted as an identification card that enables the bearer to access a plethora of services and benefits. Driver’s licenses and ID cards are used to rent apartments and cars, open bank accounts, cash checks, enter secure buildings, buy guns, and board commercial aircraft, among other things.
Acceptance of these documents as proof of identity has become so commonplace in America that presenting a different document, like a passport, may attract attention and lead to increased scrutiny, even if the alternative document is actually more secure. This is why driver’s licenses and ID cards are so valuable to terrorists and illegal aliens, who use them to hide in plain sight without attracting unwanted attention. As the 9/11 Commission noted in its final report, reliable identification is vital for security reasons. Fraudulent licenses and IDs ‘complicated the government’s ability to adequately ensure public safety at vulnerable facilities including airport terminals, train stations, bus stations, and other entry points.'”
  • Dan Stein, director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). 2003[1] – “Ensuring that our nation’s critical-identity documents are secure and cannot be accessed by terrorists or other people who are in the U.S. illegally is critical to the homeland-defense effort.”
Drivers’ licenses were the ‘valid IDs’ that got the terrorists on the planes they used to murder our loved ones. The 9/11 terrorists possessed among them sixty-three authentic U.S.-issued licenses. These were the ‘valid ID’s’ that allowed them to board the planes that they used to commit mass murder. Although ‘driving certificates’ did not exist at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, early experience from Tennessee establishes that they are accepted by airlines for boarding airplanes.
Drivers’ licenses did more for the terrorists besides allowing them to board the planes. Drivers’ licenses were the tools that allowed them to blend in as just ordinary Americans.
The driver’s license is the basic identification document for nearly everyone in America. When the terrorists needed places to claim as a residence, they used their licenses as ‘ID’ for signing their leases. When they opened the bank accounts that they used to place the financing for the conspiracy, they used their licenses as ID. When they rented cars, rented motel rooms, when they paid tuition for their flying lessons, they used their licenses to ‘identify’ themselves.
Because ‘driving certificates’ did not exist at the time of 9/11, none were used for these purposes but it is already clear that they are now being used for these purposes in the same way as full licenses.
There are 8 to 11 million illegals in the U.S. Even their advocates call them ‘undocumented.’ An ‘undocumented’ (illegal) alien is a person whose true identity is unknown, because he has never presented documents to U.S. immigration officials, the only people capable of determining the authenticity of foreign documents.
Thus, a state that grants a driver’s license or certificate to an ‘undocumented’ alien is giving an official ‘valid ID’ to a person who can be a terrorist.
Illegals are people who break the law to get into the U.S., break the law to stay here and break the law to get jobs here. To give illegals the privilege of driving in the U.S. is to reward criminal activity. Giving licenses to illegals will encourage more illegals to come to the U.S.”
Response: All officials of government, state and local as well as federal, have an obligation to protect citizens from terrorists and criminals. It is time to take a stand and say: ‘we will not give any more rights to those who break our laws.’ A person can to choose either to oppose illegal immigration by denying privileges to illegals, or else he is part of the problem by encouraging illegal immigration.
It is time to say that for the safety of our citizens that we will not go any further.”

Supporting organizations

  • 9/11 Families for a Secure America.[2]