In a thread from a few days ago, I mentioned the lack of coverage given to Governor Spitzer's plan to provide driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. What I find fascinating is the lack of discussion about the impact this plan may or may not have on our community.
Let's set aside the politics of immigration. Let's set aside that this issue is red meat to conservatives on one side and trolling for Latino support on the other. Let's set aside the argument that this is validating illegal behavior versus it's making the streets safer.
Instead, let's focus on an issue for Western New York in which there is near unanimous agreement....you shouldn't need a passport to drive over the bridge to Canada. We all know that requiring passports will be a huge financial burden on many people and will really hurt tourism and commerce.
That's why our Congressional Delegation, in a bi-partisan manner, has been fighting the White House and Homeland Security on this. Instead, the argument has been made that driver's licenses should be good enough. There are some pilot programs being conducted where enhanced drivers' licenses are being tried. A state needs to show the federal government that its drivers license program is stringent enough that it's as good as a passport.
Now guess what? Giving illegal immigrants driver's licenses will kill New York's chances of getting around the passport requirement...thank you Governor.
Spitzer's people are saying that the above statement isn't accurate. That illegals won't be able to get the "enhanced" driver's license. Others dispute that.
The fact is, the border is far more important than giving licenses to illegal immigrants. The governor should have cleared all of this up and had definitive answers from Washington before embarking on this policy change.
And worse, the lack of serious coverage on this issue has led to further confusion. Considering every single media outlet has covered the border issue and many editorials have been written against the passport requirement, one would think this topic would merit considerably more coverage.