Thursday, March 18, 2004

Ruh Oh!

Albany Social Security ID Checks Threaten Driver's Licenses
New York State is threatening to suspend the driver's licenses of half a million drivers - 5 percent of the state's 10 million drivers, including thousands of immigrants working here illegally - because their Social Security information at the Department of Motor Vehicles does not match up with the data on file at the Social Security Administration.
Fasten your seat belts! "Waves of Fear" ahead!
But it has generated waves of fear among immigrant groups, who protested the new policy at a rally at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
Let's see - they were protesting for the right to use bogus Social Security Numbers. How cool is that? Maybe I can do the same on my taxes?
Although New York is one of a dozen states that do not officially limit driver's licenses to legal residents, the commissioner acknowledged that by the end of the year the "data cleanup" would eliminate the driving licenses of all New York immigrants unable to prove that they have legal authorization to be in the United States.
Fantastic! Although I'm not too optimistic about the quality of the proof.
"It has horrible consequences for immigrant workers who are just trying to make a living," said Gouri Sadhwani, executive director of the New York Civic Participation Project, an immigrant and labor union advocacy group. "It's yet another way that local and federal officials are criminalizing immigrants."
Earth to Gouri! Earth to Gouri! Illegal aliens are criminals!
Michele Waslin, a senior immigration policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights organization, said New York's move was part of a national trend of introducing new restrictions through policy changes rather than changes in the law.

"This is a public safety issue," she said. "If they're working, if they have to go to school, if they have to go to the hospital, they have to drive and it's in the public interest that they be licensed and insured drivers."
Since they shouldn't be in the USA in the first place, how about a bus ride to the border instead, Michele? What's safer than that?