At a time when America is mourning the loss of thousands of citizens in an attack by foreign terrorists, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes wants to give drivers licenses to illegal aliens.
Georgians likely will rub their eyes in disbelief. But its true. At a meeting with other governors attending the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention last week in Atlanta, Barnes said the state should allow illegal immigrants to get either a regular drivers license or an international license.
Has Barnes lost his mind? The governor who recently pushed through tough restrictions on licensing teen-agers will actually make it easier for national trespassers to drive!
Lest supporters of this lame-brained idea forget, illegal aliens are first and foremost illegal. They arent supposed to be here in the first place, having sneaked into America without waiting for the legal process by which thousands of potential new citizens enter our country every year.
Barnes, and advocates for Hispanics, put out the welcome mat for what has become a slow invasion from south of the border. Granting these people drivers licenses - which, amazingly, North Carolina and Tennessee already do - is a reward for violating federal law.
The push for licenses comes not just from Barnes and politicians who pander for votes from Georgias growing legal Hispanic population, but also from big employers profiting from illegal workers. Georgias economy depends on the labor, the energy and the ideas of Latinos, Barnes told the Chamber group. Without Latino work, Georgia agribusiness could not survive. The same goes to a large extent for construction.
Granting licenses to illegals would make it easier for them to get to jobs. Many employers claim they are forced to hire illegals because they cant get Americans to do dirty or menial jobs; the reality is that the illegals presence in the work force allows employers to keep their labor costs down. As long as the employers can hire illegals at sweatshop wages - often threatening them with deportation if they complain - why provide higher-paying jobs to legal residents?
There also is a tremendous security consideration, especially in a time of war when foreign nationals provide footsoldiers for terror. The airline highjackers who killed more than 6,000 Americans demonstrated how easy it is to get a pilots license; does Georgia really want to make it easier to get a drivers license, too, so the next terrorists can use tractor-trailers or Greyhound buses?
Obviously, this is no time for knee-jerk anti-immigration attitudes. But political leaders - including Barnes - are foolish to believe our nation is safer if illegal immigration is rewarded.
Two misguided Atlanta-area lawmakers are preparing to introduce legislation next spring to grant licenses to illegals. This is one bill that should be deported to the trash bin.
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