Argument: Providing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will not make US roads safer

Issue Report: Drivers licenses for Illegal immigrants in the US


  • “Illegal immigrants and drivers licenses. Faulty logic.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri). December 8, 2007 – “The editorial ‘Licensing illegals’ (Dec. 1) and Bill McClellan’s column ‘Let’s shoot for insured illegals, fewer voters’ (Dec. 2) imply that if illegal aliens were licensed, they would purchase automobile insurance. I don’t think that one can jump to that conclusion. If they are violating the law by being in this country, why assume that they will comply with state ordinances that require drivers to carry auto insurance? Furthermore, how are they obtaining license plates for their vehicles without proof of insurance? Unfortunately, lacking national identity cards, drivers licenses serve a multitude of identification functions; therefore, there should be reasonable limits placed on their issuance.”
Myth 1: Illegal aliens are going to drive no matter what so issuing them licenses will improve the safety of our roads by ensuring that they have passed a driving test and purchased automobile insurance.
In 2004, automobile accidents resulted in about 42,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries in the United States. The vast majority of the people involved in these accidents were licenses, insured drivers, so the correlation asserted by the advocates is tenuous at best. Moreover, most illegal aliens are low-wage workers who send a significant portion of their earnings to their home countries in the form of remittances. They have little incentive to spend their wages on car insurance, and even less incentive to wait for the police to arrive after an accident, since contact with law enforcement authorities could result in deportation. Finally, this suggestion that we just accept the inevitability of illegal aliens’ presence in the United States and treat them as lawful residents undermines our belief in law and fairness. No one would suggest that we not lock our doors because burglars are going to break in anyway.