The Department of Homeland Security has called for a review of new laws in states where the DMV allows undocumented immigrants who have no proof they are in the country legally to attain a drivers license.
The request for review was put forth by Chad Wold, the acting secretary, who sent a memo to all sections of Homeland Security, including the United States Customs and Border Protect, Transportation Security Administration, and even the Coast Guard.
Wolf's request wants a study done to figure out how these new laws will affect the way DHS fights against illegal immigration and crimes such as drug smuggling, human trafficking, and even counter terrorism, as per a report on AP.
What are the new laws?
In New York, the law allows migrants who are not United States citizens to attain a drivers license without having legal immigration status. Some states who have similar laws are even requiring the state to restrict sharing the data gathered on it.
The AP report stated:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, are frequent thorns in the side of the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict immigration. New York City is home to an estimated 500,000 immigrants in the country illegally.
The laws prohibit state Department of Motor Vehicles officials from providing data to agencies that enforce immigration law unless a judge orders it. New York cut off database access to at least three federal agencies last week when the law went into effect.
As if New York City doesn't already have traffic problems in their very congested city! Imagine 500,000 other people on the road. Of course, that number is not accurate as it's unknown (by me) how many of that 500,000 are of legal driving age.
What did Wolf's memo say?
Great question. AP was able to get a copy of it and reported:
that the department must be "prepared to deal with and counter these impacts as we protect the homeland."
An estimated 265,000 immigrants without legal documents were expected to get driver’s licenses within three years, more than half of them in New York City, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Applicants must still get a permit and pass a road test to qualify for a “standard driver’s license,” which cannot be used for federal purposes like an enhanced driver’s license or Real ID.
Wolf’s directive asks that each agency survey what DMV information is already available, how it is used in day-to-day operations, and what the security consequences are without the data.
The big controversy surrounding the new laws allowing illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses is that it makes things a lot easier for terrorists and criminals to get documentation they normally shouldn't have access to.
“The Trump administration takes the mission of protecting the Homeland very seriously,” said DHS spokeswoman Heather Swift. She said the laws were short-sighted and unsafe and skirt immigration laws on the books for decades. “These types of laws make it easier for terrorists and criminals to obtain fraudulent documents,” she said.
Unfortunately, New York state officials came up with a poor excuse as to why they imposed these laws. They suggested it was to lower the amount of people who are uninsured, but there's no evidence that an illegal immigrant who gets a drivers license will, or will not, obtain car insurance.
That could go either way and no one knows for sure which direction it will sway, as the laws are fairly new and data is likely inconclusive.