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Um... never mind

This morning, I had an brief "Emily Litella" moment when I foolishly judged a Boston Globe story by its headline. "Denied licenses, legal immigrants sue state Registry."

My first impression was that the Globe had it right for once: in our zeal to crack down on illegal aliens, we should be extremely careful not to do what the illegals' advocates do and lump them in with the ones who have obeyed the laws and played by the rules. Those who have done the right thing and come here fully legally and aboveboard need to be recognized and lauded, not hassled and harassed and denied their rights.

But that was my mistake: trusting the Globe and believing that they were on the right, sensible, and correct side of something.

The bare facts of the story are correct: legal aliens have been seeking drivers' licenses, as they are entitled to, and been denied by Registry officials, and they are suing to overturn those decisions. But it's the REASON that the licenses were denied that is the key here.

It seems that Registry employees had gotten into the nasty habit of asking applicants to prove their legal status before issuing their license. And since it is well known and established that no one, even those who are here illegally, would EVER stoop to lying about their immigration status while seeking official, state-issued identification, asking such was a gross invasion of privacy and violation of the civil rights of the applicants.

All sarcasm aside, it appears that the suit has a serious chance of succeeding, thanks to typically insane Massachusetts laws and policies. It seems that in order to obtain a Massachusetts drivers' license, an applicant must provide proof of residency and a valid Social Security number. (It doesn't have to be THEIR Social Security number, apparently; all that is checked is that it is valid, not that it belongs to the applicant.)

Critics say this is what happens when you have state officials not trained in enforcing federal immigration laws actually trying to enforce them. (These are usually the same people who oppose training state officials on federal immigration law.)

But to me, it's just one more way of blending illegal aliens and legal residents into one amorphous mass, so that those of us who actually believe in such antiquated notions as laws and rules and borders can be called "racists" and "xenophobes" and "anti-immigration bigots" and the like.

Comments (8)

Actually Jay, I think that ... (Below threshold)

Actually Jay, I think that "valid" presupposes that the SS card is issued to the applicant -- what is at issue is whether or not the Registry people have any basis for challenging the validity of the SS card when it is handed to them by someone who "looks" like an immigrant.

Of course, if the SS card is found later to be fraudulent, in addition to all of the federal fraud laws that will not be enforced against that person, we can add another: that the driver's license issued on the basis of the fraudulent card will not be revoked.

I work at a bank, and we ha... (Below threshold)

I work at a bank, and we have a similar process for opening accounts (for everyone, not just immigrants), in that we only check to make sure if the SSN is valid; we currently do not have an SSN matching program to make sure that it actually belongs to the person bringing it in. So unless it turns up a previous inquiry under a completely different name (which has happened once) or was issued several years before they were born (which has happened several times), we have to assume that it's legit.

Also, here in Washington at least, the DoL will issue Driver's Licenses that have a little note on them saying "Not Valid for Identification Purposes," or something to that effect. We called them once to figure out what that meant, and their explanation was something along the lines of "We won't swear that this person is who they say they are, but we're going to let them drive anyways."

I was in the grocery store ... (Below threshold)

I was in the grocery store yesterday, I overheard a conversation that the woman in front of me was having with the cashier. The woman was complaining that cost of strawberries and other fruit has more than doubled. I piped up and asked them if they knew why that was happening? They didn't. I explained that the migrant workers that typically harvest fruits and vegtables at harvest time are being sent home. I have no problems with getting illegal aliens out of the country, but I don't want to hear any conplaints when it costs $10 for a pint of strawberries. Already I could buy 2 gallons of gasoline for the cost of a gallon or tropicana OJ. Glad my vehicle doesn't run on OJ.

"I explained that the migra... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"I explained that the migrant workers that typically harvest fruits and vegtables at harvest time are being sent home."

Is that true? Are there significant numbers of illegals being deported now? I'd like to see some stats on that. Links, anyone?

I don't have any statistics... (Below threshold)

I don't have any statistics, but I do know that a lot of orchardists in my area (the apple capital of the world) were short on labor this year. A lot were sharing workers back and forth, and a few actually "stole" workers from other orchardists with slightly higher wages.

".. and a few actually "sto... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

".. and a few actually "stole" workers from other orchardists with slightly higher wages."

Heh. Yeah, how 'bout that? Maybe instead of paying crappy wages they might have to pay decent wages. Maybe more Americans will resume doing jobs that 'Americans won't do'. Maybe growers will start looking towards innovation and invention to pick their crops if their large pool of exploited labor dries up.

If it costs the consumer more in the short term to get rid of illegals, so be it. That's the market and I'm fine with it.

I agree completely. I can'... (Below threshold)

I agree completely. I can't say that around here though, or I'd probably get strung up by the locals.

...in that we only check... (Below threshold)

...in that we only check to make sure if the SSN is valid

I'm guessing you see a lot of these: 567-68-0515 (that's Richard Nixon's SSN) ;->






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