HB 137 dehumanizes illegal immigrants

By and


One provision of House Bill 1378212;Driver License Qualification Amendments8212;requires that all driving privilege cards expire on Dec. 31, 2009. This bill will expose the public to extreme and unnecessary safety concerns.

Since the state of Utah began issuing driving privilege cards to illegal immigrants, the number of uninsured motorists on the road has dropped by nearly 30 percent. A recent audit shows that while 81 percent of legal citizens and permanent resident aliens have auto insurance, nearly 75 percent of illegal immigrants also have auto insurance. This program has also guaranteed that those who receive these documents are receiving at least a minimal amount of driving preparation, which is necessary to pass the written exam and the road test. By ending the driving privilege card program, we won’t ensure that the illegal immigrant population will cease growing or drop. All that we would be guaranteed is that any illegal immigrant driving in Utah is doing so without auto insurance and without any minimum testing standard.

For those critics of the driving privilege card program who claim that it is a “magnet” that draws illegal aliens to Utah, consider the following: Driving privilege cards, under state law, cannot be used as identification. Undocumented immigrants cannot pass airport security with it, they cannot have a document notarized with it, they cannot qualify for a loan with it and they cannot use it to buy insurance (other than auto insurance). Critics also argue that despite the fact that it is against the law, driving privilege cards are widely accepted by local banks for loans and mortgages. If we did end the driving privilege card program, what is to stop these same businesses from continuing to break the law and accepting some other illegal form of ID, such as the “cedula de identidad”? Enforcing current law, rather than imposing new laws against illegal immigrants, would best aim our efforts.

What we are doing is dehumanizing the “enemy” (illegal immigrants) the way our military does during wartime, in an effort to lessen the burden of our atrocities on our consciences. This new racism that equates illegal immigrant with criminal has somehow made bigotry acceptable. For even the most bigoted amongst us, it is obvious to see that it is in the best interest of our public safety to continue with the driving privilege card program.

Jascha Clark,
Senior, Psychology and Ethnic Studies