On June 16, 2019 The Wall Street Journal published a report, New York Bill Would Grant Undocumented Immigrants Driver’s Licenses, the subtitle of which noted, Similar legislation already exists in 12 other states.
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 is likely to pass with Democrats in control of the New York Legislature.
Back in 2007 then-New York State’s 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 that issue in which I voiced by extreme opposition to the legislation.
What I stated in my prepared testimony then, is as relevant today, as it was 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 surveillance on potential terror targets.
Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has spent billions of dollars on airline security that includes today the employment of more than 45,000 TSA personnel and the installation of expensive high-tech screening systems and the development and maintenance of 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 has 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.
This worrying WSJ report reminds me of several bits of sage advice my parents gave me when I was growing up.
First of all, when I would whine when my parents refused to permit me to join my friends in activities that they did not approve of, they would rhetorically ask me, “If your friends jumped off the roof, would you jump with them?”
The “bandwagon” tactic of pointing out that 12 other states have already “jumped off the roof” should not justify unwise and dangerous action by the political “leaders” of New York State who are poised to pass legislation that would push us off that roof.
Furthermore, by us, I do not only mean those in New York State but everyone throughout the United States. With a New York driver’s license, a terrorist can rent a car in New York and drive anywhere in the United States, or travel anywhere in the United States and rent a vehicle when they get to the city they have targeted for an attack.
Now New York State, 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 the bicycle path just blocks from the World Trade Center, is poised to pass legislation that would be the equivalent of it is not that they want to jump off the roof, they want to push us off that roof.
This brings me to the second bit of my dad’s advice. When he handed me the keys to our family car he told me that a car could be more lethal than a gun.
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?
Drivers licenses 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 in 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.
Awhile back a wrote an article, Immigration And The Unlearned Lessons Of 9/11, that included the link to an important New York Times article, Roosevelt Avenue, a Corridor of Vice that 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 providing such individuals with identity documents is. 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 were 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. Therefore illegal aliens would be able to easily game the licensing procedures to acquire an actual driver’s license in a false identity 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 I noted above.
It is remarkable that On August 4, 2004 MSNBC published an NBC report: 9/11 report light on ID theft issues that included these excerpts:
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.
The report does note the importance of the issue, however. Impersonation is cited as a key tool for terrorists. “Travel documents are as important as weapons,” the report says. “Fraud is no longer just a problem of theft. At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are.”
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.