May 3, 2005


Tough Stand Likely on IDs: Congress appears ready to discourage driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, tighten rules on asylum and patch a border fence. (Mary Curtius, May 3, 2005, LA Times)

Congressional negotiators agreed Monday to measures that would discourage states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, tighten asylum requirements and complete the border fence between California and Mexico, sources involved in the talks said.

The agreement by House and Senate negotiators made it all but certain that the measures would become law.

The driver's license provision would, for the first time, set national standards for the state-issued documents. The key standard would require every applicant for a driver's license to prove legal residency in the United States.

If a state opted not to comply, its driver's licenses, even those issued to citizens and legal residents, would not be recognized as valid for federal identification purposes — such as boarding an airplane or opening a bank account. As a result, most states would probably adopt the new standards. [...]

The negotiators also agreed to a provision that supporters said would keep terrorists from using asylum laws to gain entry to the United States. The revisions would require asylum seekers to offer more proof that they were fleeing persecution and would limit their right to judicial review if their petition were rejected by immigration officials.

The border fence provision would speed completion of a 3.5-mile gap in the fence between San Diego and Tijuana. The Senate stripped similar provisions from a bill last year overhauling the nation's intelligence community. This year, the House sought to ensure adoption of the provisions by attaching them to the $80-billion-plus emergency spending bill that is devoted largely to covering the ongoing costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The spending bill is considered "must-pass" legislation, and it is expected to be adopted by both chambers later this month.

Seemingly well-balanced legislation that will make anti-immigrationists feel better without having much effect on immigration itself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2005 7:31 AM

Is someone who is opposed to illegal immigration an anti-immigrationist? Is someone who is opposed to counterfeit money anti-money? Is someone who is opposed to gatecrashers opposed to purchasers of tickets to attend an entertainment event?

Posted by: George at May 3, 2005 8:07 AM

No one crashes the gate at a Jeff Foxworthy show.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 8:21 AM

You have an amazing talent for being willfully obtuse. I think George made elegantly the point that you ,while grasping that immigration is a good, hold America in so low regard as to not being willing to require anything of the actual immigrants. This doesn't bode well for assimilation of Mexicans.

Posted by: h-man at May 3, 2005 8:41 AM

I favor assimilation of them as well as natives--but that's a failing if the school system.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 8:49 AM

OJ's ignorance of the history of American immigration is staggering. Even at the height of open borders, from 1880-1920, roughly 1/3 of all immigrants were sent back. It was never an open border. Sicily and Russia are a long swim.

Also, he fails to understand that today we have an extensive social welfare apparatus, something which did not exist in immigration's heyday. And we had a great need for unskilled labor back then, something less important in our post-industrial economy.

Immigration is inherently a good thing but it must be managed as it always has been, with an eye towards what is good for America, not the rights of the prospective immigrant. Mexico and other parts of Latin America produce more people than their economies can absorb, many of those people would add to our nation's productivity, but not all of them would. Some are criminals, some are layabouts, and some are incompetents, as is true with any large population. It is the duty of border control, however constituted, to sift among the prospective immigrants to find those who will contribute to the nation and screen out those who will not. A blanket open admission of the sort going on now only serves to bankrupt large sections of the country, as we are seeing. The tragedies of people dying in the desert or being shot by 'coyotes' hired to bring them over the border merely highlight the current system's unfairness and cruelty.

As for assimilation, all immigrants to America from whatever source understand that to succeed here you need to master English. That is not going to change. People who want their kids to be dishwashers and lettuce pickers will fail to insure their kids learn it, the vast majority do and will demand English instruction.

Posted by: bart at May 3, 2005 9:39 AM


The height of open borders was when my family came here and took whatever we wanted from the natives. It worked great.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 9:50 AM

It's not a failing schools system.

They are not our ancestors' immigrants. They are a hop, skip and jump away from home.

It's harder to cut the ties.

Accommodations can be made.

Now that a call by a Mexican to Fox that Mexico should start controlling its' borders, maybe we can move forward.

Posted by: Sandy P. at May 3, 2005 11:35 AM

We were physically ruled from the home country and had no problem cutting ties.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 11:46 AM

The height of open borders was when my family came here and took whatever we wanted from the natives. It worked great.

That works fine for me too, just as long as you keep in mind that you're the native now. Don't complain when you lose your own scalp.

Posted by: joe shropshire at May 3, 2005 12:41 PM

Darwinism is bunk as scioence, but sound sociology. Trading the white Blues for the brown Reds is just good sense.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 1:10 PM

The comments on immigration are very nice, but has anyone here noticed that this bill essentially establishes the dreaded "National ID Card" that the average American doesn't want?

Common standards and a nationally maintained and accessible datebase with all that data, all financed and enforced by the feds - what else is it?

"Papers, please," is one step closer.

Posted by: bud at May 3, 2005 7:20 PM

No, bud, this sets some standards for what is already a national ID card. Motor-voter, if nothing else, already let that horse out of the barn.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 3, 2005 8:08 PM