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:

"In a
blunt ruling,

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." [
of Driver`s Licenses to Many Immigrants Voided

by Julia Preston, May 11, 2005]

So let`s

not cooperate
between government agencies?

I thought that was what appointing
a new Director of

was all about.

I thought we were trying to

defend against terrorists,
per the

911 Commission report
and getting drivers licenses
more secure was something the US Senate

just voted for 100 to zero.

This decision not to be an
is akin to seeing a robber entering your
neighbor`s house and not

calling 911
because it isn`t your house.

Judge, I would point out that every

illegal alien
who comes here, terrorist or not, is
committing a robbery of our

tax money,

, our

medical care
, and our


The Times` Preston notes

ruling came in a lawsuit filed on behalf of five
immigrants by the

Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
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.

For example, we know that

of the
9/11 terrorists got Virginia licenses
which enabled
them to get

bank accounts
, rent cars, get

flight training
and move with impunity all over the


North Carolina,

of licenses issued to illegals even now has
been widely reported —hopefully with the result that
this practice will be stopped.

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
and plans to appeal the judge`s decision.

Hopefully, with the US citizenry as
conscious of their

—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
court system.

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,


Small but positive steps such as
controlling the issuance of driver`s licenses will be
only among many more actions necessary to reestablish

Rule of Law
upon which our country was


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.