A Modest Proposal
Yesterday, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill which seeks to bar illegal immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses. [See AP story here] Rational objections from opponents included the argument that illegal immigrants will continue to drive, regardless, and under this law will also be unable to obtain insurance. This is exactly correct.
Last summer, during a public health outreach in migrant worker camps around Mt. Angel, several undocumented workers expressed their frustration with being unable to obtain insurance in Oregon because of prohibitive costs and also indicated their lack of familiarity with state laws. Like most of us, they don’t want to be ticketed, but for illegal immigrants, an additional concern is that they may be deported if picked up on any infraction. It is in the public’s interest to have educated, safe drivers on the road, you’d think. But that is not what our august lawmakers are interested in.
Proponents’ defense of the bill focused not on making the roads safe but on anti-terrorism. What if terrorists were able to obtain driver’s licenses? Just think of all the damage!
Obviously, terrorism is a threat to the wonderful US. However, terrorism accounts for a mere fraction of deaths that drunk driving does. In 2003 alone, over 17,000 people died in alcohol-related accidents. 17,000. [See CDC information here] In the interests of national security, driving should be banned completely. If terrorists found out how much more effective drinking and driving is at killing people than flying airplanes into buildings, imagine the destruction! We can’t let them do that.
Driving obviously presents a clear and present danger to the US. No one should be given licenses; that will make us safe by keeping everyone who could potentially cause an accident off the street.