Driver Licenses and Illegal Aliens

Five illegal aliens are suing Oregon over an Oregon citizen-passed (by two to one) law that denies driver licenses to illegal aliens.

This is about as cynical as it gets in the illegal immigration movement. One of the signs held by protestors supporting the suit (not visible at the link unless you play the video) insists that “driving is a privilege not a crime.” The sign is correct. What the sign holder misses, though, what the movement misses, what the suit carefully elides, is that driving also is not a right and that driving without a license is a crime. Driving is a privilege, and it’s awarded to those legally in the state in the form of a license to drive issued by the state. Being present illegally in no way confers a “right” to the privilege.

[T]he lawsuit alleges Measure 88 is unconstitutional because it “arbitrarily” denies driving privileges based on membership in a “disfavored minority group.” It alleges Oregon voters were motivated by “animus toward persons from Mexico and Central America.”

This is an example of the cynicism. There’s nothing arbitrary about the law: it targets illegal aliens. It denies access to a privilege (not to a right), not to a disfavored minority group, but to those present in Oregon illegally. Unless citizens with driver licenses suspended for this or that series of law violations also are a “disfavored minority group.” Neither does it show animus toward persons of particular nationality or “regionality.” It shows no animus at all; it only says illegal aliens aren’t entitled [sic] to the privileges of citizens and aliens present legally.

Long time readers of this blog know that I take a very loose and open view toward immigration. I just insist that immigrants enter legally and that if they choose to remain, they do so legally. Those currently present illegally need only take steps to become legal—admittedly hard to do under our current immigration system, and much easier to do were my proposals or those of some of the Republican Presidential candidates passed into law, but possible to do nonetheless.

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