Justice Smith vs. Common Sense (And U.S. Senate!) On Illegal Alien Drivers Licenses
Talk about crazy confluences!
Last Tuesday, May 10th, the U.S.
Senate unanimously approved the
REAL ID bill, as well as additional funding for
border and interior enforcement.
The same day, a New York
State judge ruled it doesn`t matter if you are in the
country illegally—the NY DMV cannot use immigration
status to deny you a driver`s license:
Justice Karen S. Smith of State Supreme Court in
Manhattan chastised the State Department of Motor
Vehicles, saying it exceeded its authority in 2002 when
it imposed the restriction. She said such decisions were
up to state lawmakers. Justice Smith said she recognized
that the department had rushed to implement new rules,
which require applicants to present either valid Social
Security numbers or legal immigration papers, in an
effort to tighten security and combat fraud after Sept.
11. But she said the agency `cannot be an enforcer` for
federal Homeland Security authorities. `It simply lacks
expertise and, more importantly, it has not been
empowered by the
State Legislature to carry out that function,` the
judge wrote." [Denial
of Driver`s Licenses to Many Immigrants Voided,
by Julia Preston, May 11, 2005]
not cooperate between government agencies?
I thought that was what appointing
a new Director of
Intelligence was all about.
This decision not to be an
"enforcer" is akin to seeing a robber entering your
neighbor`s house and not
calling 911 because it isn`t your house.
The Times` Preston notes
ruling came in a lawsuit filed on behalf of five
immigrants by the
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. [Contact
them] The suit challenged several
practices by the Department of Motor Vehicles, including
a plan to suspend the licenses of about 252,000 drivers,
many of them immigrants, who gave Social Security
numbers that were found to be invalid in a department
New York`s “practices” were
a fine example to
other states of how to end what has been a loose and
failure to establish proper ID before issuing a
document that has become the primary method of personal
identification all over the US.
The NY State
DMV Commissioner, Ray Martinez, has been using
Social Security numbers to verify when an applicant
is legally here. He calls this practice "common
sense" and plans to appeal the judge`s decision.
Hopefully, with the US citizenry as
conscious of their
endangerment—many Federal buildings in DC were
evacuated on May 11th when an
unidentified aircraft came into the wrong zone–a
higher court will be brave enough to overturn Judge
Smith`s decision and allow Commissioner Martinez to
continue what is an obviously sound approach.
The good news: Martinez`s lawyers
note that the judge`s ruling will not actually change
the NY State rules, while this case is going through the
We can only pray that more public
officials such as Mr. Martinez will be working to insure
our safety and national survival. We are at war and the
chances of an attack loom large.
And illegal immigration already
amounts to a full-scale,
Donald A. Collins [email
him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.