Saturday, August 31, 2002

Common Sense From The North Woods
From Charlie Weaver, State commissioner of public safety and director of Minnesota's Office of Homeland Security, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Two recent commentaries in the Star Tribune ("Driver's license restrictions won't fix inept immigration laws," by Reva Rasmussen, Aug. 8; "Myths of driver's licenses and terrorism," by Steven Foldes, Aug. 10) criticized our department's recent actions linking the expiration of a person's driver's license with the expiration of that person's legal status in this country.

Unfortunately, the commentators' lack of regard for the facts do a disservice to public discussion of this issue. Let me set the record straight.

Our recent rule changes accomplished two important goals. First, they make it easier for law enforcement officials to identify people who are in this country illegally. This change had strong support from a bipartisan majority of Minnesota legislators as well as the state's top law enforcement organizations.

Second, the rule changes ensure the integrity of our state's driver's license -- Minnesota's most important identity document. It is ironic that on the same day one of the opposing commentaries was printed, a front-page story in this paper identified fraudulent use of Minnesota's driver's license as creating serious problems for both retailers and law enforcement officials throughout Minnesota.

The changes, authorized by the state's top administrative law judge, are founded on the basic premise that it doesn't make sense to give a four-year driver's license to someone who can legally be in this country only a few weeks.
Makes sense to me. Dare I ask why the whiners are upset?
Foldes argues that our rule changes somehow amount to profiling. This inflammatory word is often tossed about by those who possess neither the facts nor the law to support their position. Since when is merely enforcing the law -- particularly immigration law -- considered profiling? Does Foldes really want police to pick and choose which laws they decide to enforce? Equal application of the law is core to our democracy and is a fundamental principle we will not sacrifice on the altar of political correctness.


I am unwilling to delay reforms that will protect the lives of Minnesotans in the hope that terrorists will wait patiently while we debate these proposals. Remember, just a year ago Zacarias Moussaoui, who recently admitted that he was part of the Al-Qaida terrorist network, was taking flight lessons in Eagan.
Amen, brother.