On June 18, 2019 The New York Daily News reported, “Cuomo signs bill granting undocumented immigrants access to New York driver’s licenses despite 11th-hour concerns.”
Incredibly, the concerns were not about how this might impact national security, public safety or the immigration crisis on the border, but about how information in the DMV databases might help the federal government to enforce immigration laws and what needs to be done to prevent this from happening!
This is not the first time that the New York State legislature attempted to provide driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, but this time this dangerous and wrong-headed legislation has become the law of the state.
Back in 2007 then-New York State Governor Spitzer pushed for similar legislation that would have provided illegal aliens with driver’s licenses.
I testified before the New York State Senate on October 15, 2007 on that issue, in which I voiced my extreme opposition to the legislation.
When I addressed the hearing I noted that the preposterous claim made by proponents for issuing driver’s licenses, and an argument that was used during the most recent debate, is that since illegal aliens will drive “anyway” (with or without a license), a license would enable them to get insurance and they would learn to drive more safely. I told them that by this reasoning the State of New York should provide convicted felons with firearms training and carry permits since it is likely that they would also violate the laws and carry guns “anyway.” I then said that with proper training the criminals could improve their accuracy and thus would be less likely to hit innocent bystanders in a gun battle. Further, perhaps through training, they could be convinced to use trigger locks between bank robberies and drive-by shootings. With my tongue firmly embedded in my cheek I suggested that this would improve public safety immeasurably.
You can imagine their reactions!
The concerns I included in my prepared testimony then are as relevant today as they were then, with one additional critical factor: in the nearly 12 years since that hearing, while there have been no terror attacks carried out by international terrorists that involve the hijacking of airliners, there have been a string of deadly mass casualty terror attacks around the world and in the United States that involved terrorists using motor vehicles as weapons.
On June 14, 2019 the Justice Department announced the sentencing of a citizen of Yemen for his terrorist activities: “New York Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Attempting to Join ISIS in Yemen.”
The press release included this paragraph:
Following his return to the United States in September 2015, Naji continued to express his support for ISIS and violent jihad. In July 2016, following the ISIS-inspired terrorist truck attack in Nice, France, that killed scores of innocent civilians, Naji told the CS how easy it would be to carry out a similar attack in Times Square, explaining that ISIS “want[s] an operation in Times Square” and stating that an ISIS “reconnaissance group . . . put up scenes of Times Square.”
Naji further explained, “if there is a truck, I mean a garbage truck and one drives it there to Times Square and crushes them . . . Times Square day.”
Terrorists have also used vehicles such cabs and passenger vans to conduct clandestine meetings and as a means of conducting covert surveillance on potential terror targets.
The TSA was created in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 9/11 and funded to the tune of billions of dollars. It currently employs more than 45,000 people and maintains and uses so-called “No Fly Lists” to help prevent terrorists from gaining access to airliners.
Yet there are no “No Drive Lists” to prevent terrorists from being able to access cars and trucks.
Perhaps the efforts to enhance security in the commercial aviation sector have paid off or, perhaps the terrorists have simply shifted their methodology. In any event the use of motor vehicles as weapons has prompted cities to install numerous physical barriers to protect against such attacks but few barriers exist to prevent terrorists from gaining access to motor vehicles.
On August 20, 2018, CNN provided a synopsis of such attacks in an article, “Terrorist Attacks by Vehicle Fast Facts.”
Terrorists who have driver’s licenses don’t pose a risk only to those who live in the state where the license was issued. They can simply rent a car in New York and drive anywhere in the U.S. or travel to any other state and use their New York driver’s license to rent a car there.
Now New York, the state that by far suffered the greatest devastation on September 11, 2001 and has suffered other terror attacks, including one that involved a truck used to run down people on a bicycle path just blocks from the World Trade Center, will enthusiastically provide illegal aliens with driver’s licenses.
My dad taught me to drive. When he handed me the keys to our family car he told me that a car could be more lethal than a gun. And as we have seen all too frequently, that statement is accurate, dead accurate.
Continuing with my dad’s comparison of guns and cars, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) is a federal law that prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms that includes:
(5) who, being an alien- (A) is illegally and unlawfully in the United States; or (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(26)))
The penalty for violation of this law is a maximum of 10 years in jail.
New York City Penal Code similarly prohibits non U.S. citizens (aliens) from possessing firearms.
Why then should illegal aliens be given the privilege of driving motor vehicles when their very presence in the United States is a violation of law and we may never know their true identities?
Drivers licenses, however, convey more than the authority to drive motor vehicles.
Illegal aliens, criminals, fugitives and terrorists seek to acquire identity documents such as driver’s licenses, particularly under false names to conceal their true identities and their movements and provide them with an illusion of legitimacy to which they are certainly not entitled.
My earlier article, “Immigration And The Unlearned Lessons Of 9/11,” included the link to an important New York Times article, “Roosevelt Avenue, a Corridor of Vice,” which reported on the nexus between illegal immigration, crime (including human trafficking, prostitution, narcotics), and the use of false identity documents, primarily by illegal aliens.
“Undocumented Immigrants” generally have no authentic and reliable means of identifying themselves. The New York Times article noted how important it was for the NYPD to shut down the fraud document vendors because of the dangers associated with providing such individuals with identity documents. However, for local officials to provide illegal aliens with authentic driver’s licenses directly violates the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission which was behind the creation of the REAL ID Act.
It is all but impossible for state or local officials to properly determine the true identifies of “undocumented” aliens. Thus illegal aliens would be able to easily game the licensing procedures to acquire an actual driver’s license under false identities making the DMV no better than the fake document vendors who ply their trades in communities across the United States as described in the New York Times article I noted above.
It is remarkable that on August 4, 2004, MSNBC published an NBC report, “9/11 report light on ID theft issues,” which included this paragraph:
But in the nation’s most comprehensive look yet at what went wrong on Sept. 11., and what can be done to prevent the next terrorist attack, identity theft gets scarce mention. Buried deep within the 9/11 commission report — on about 10 pages, starting with page 393 — are suggestions for dealing with the deeply connected problems of terrorism and identity fraud.
Then there was this disconcerting paragraph:
Terrorism and identity theft go hand in hand, experts say. The al-Qaida training manual includes provisions for trainees to leave camp with five fake personas, says Collins, who uses a copy of the manual to train law enforcement officials. Terrorists are regularly schooled in the art of subsisting off credit card fraud while living in the United States, Collins said.
In the hands of an illegal alien, a driver’s license may well become a license to kill.
EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.