The Unacceptable Cost of Open-Border Mission Creep


February 2, 2023

By Brian Lonergan

One of the pitfalls of political extremism is that a few bad foundational ideas beget a host of even worse ideas and results. Such is the case with our immigration crisis, as what began with faculty lounge bull sessions has become accepted government policy that now threatens America’s future.

The idea that America’s borders should be softened to the point that any noncitizen could enter the country on his own terms was always problematic. From that flawed logic has come an intricate web of problems that most in our government have no will, no courage, and no competence to repair.

The first problem with allowing unchecked millions of foreign nationals to migrate here illegally is what to do with them. While some will seek government safety nets, many do have a desire to work, and that requires transportation. To accommodate this, 18 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia currently allow those here illegally to obtain drivers’ licenses. Sounds harmless enough, right?

Because of a number of factors including the cultures of other countries and lax enforcement of certain laws there, drunk driving among those here illegally is a growing and deadly problem. In the last fiscal year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested more than 17,500 illegal aliens on drunk driving charges that resulted in  convictions.  

Last year, in one ICE operation alone, agents apprehended 175 illegal aliens with multiple DUI convictions. Among those arrested were a Mexican national in Georgia who had been previously convicted of homicide by vehicle, an El Salvadoran in New York convicted of vehicular manslaughter, and a Mexican citizen in California with a conviction of hit-and-run causing death or injury.

Despite these grim facts, sanctuary states are making it easier for illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. California has issued drivers’ licenses to more than 1 million illegal aliens since 2015 when a law was enacted to remove the state’s legal resident requirement to obtain a license.

Like most initiatives of the anti-borders movement, the urgency to get licenses in the hands of illegal aliens is not motivated by a humanitarian purpose. When alien motorists were pulled over by local police, driving without a license had been one of the most frequent criminal charges that led to the violator being put in the custody of ICE for arrest and possible deportation. Removing the possibility of such a charge is simply a workaround to keep more illegal aliens in the country instead of sending them back to their homelands as federal immigration law requires.

Like most initiatives of the anti-borders movement, the urgency to get licenses in the hands of illegal aliens is not motivated by a humanitarian purpose.

That kind of legal sleight of hand leads to other bad consequences. An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, found that 51 individuals were removed from the jury pool list because of noncitizenship between October 28, 2019 and July 7, 2020. Two other counties in the state were revealed to have noncitizens on their lists of potential jurors.

How did this happen? A spokesman for the North Carolina judicial branch confirmed that counties’ jury pools are derived from two sources: the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and voter registration. While the spokesperson claimed that noncitizens manage to make it on the jury pool list via the DMV by using state IDs, driver’s licenses, or vehicle registrations, the presence of noncitizens in jury pools also means that state voter rolls potentially include illegal voters.

So, in addition to the increased risk of physical injury or death because of illegal alien drunk drivers on the road due to easily obtainable drivers’ licenses, those who participate in jury pools and elections may be noncitizens with no grounding in the American concepts of due process or election integrity. This chaos is brought to us by self-serving sanctuary politicians with no concern for their constituents who are harmed by these destructive policies.

These cases are just the latest proof that despite the clever and focus-group-tested arguments of activists, illegal immigration is anything but a victimless crime. It puts the lives of legal residents in more danger, cheapens the value of U.S. citizenship, weakens the integrity of our elections, and drains our nation’s finite resources. The next time you hear an anti-borders member of the ruling class lecturing you on your lack of compassion, just know that they are selling you a policy that benefits them and that will likely cause nothing but harm to you.

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.

Also published at American Greatness, February 2, 2023; The Ohio Star, February 7, 2023.

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