Driving Down a Wrong-Way Street
We know how Mark Hyman feels about undocumented immigrants who come to the
In his latest commentary, Hyman again focuses on the issue of undocumented immigrants, this time asserting that we need to keep them from getting their hands on driver’s licenses, lest they do something “dangerous.”
But Hyman and those who agree with him labor under a misunderstanding; laws that prohibit undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses do a great deal of damage and do nothing constructive in addressing the issue of immigration.
First, no one seriously believes that prohibiting undocumented immigrants from getting a driver’s license will stop even one person from making the decision to cross the border. These are people who willingly risk their lives to come to the
Given that undocumented immigrants are arriving here anyway, it’s to the benefit of everyone to make the best of the situation. Issuing driver’s licenses means that there will be an official government record of these individuals, they will be able to have car insurance, they will be able to take on a wider variety of jobs, and the already overworked folks at the DMV won’t be forced into becoming part-time immigration officials. Unless you want to stand in longer lines than you already do when waiting to renew your license, don’t make their job any more complex than it already is.
Undocumented immigrants who aren’t allowed driver’s licenses will be more likely to cost the rest of us more money in insurance premiums and to be involved in hit and run accidents.
Moreover, despite the attempt to manufacture an image of the average undocumented immigrant as a drain on our economy (or, even worse, as a threat to our national security), statistics show that such immigrants contribute far more money to the economy than they take. Much of
Add to this the questionable legality of denying licenses to undocumented immigrants, and you have a proposal that is as unworkable as it is counterproductive, and one that will create undesirable effects that proponents seem unable to fathom.
The bottom line is that whether you believe undocumented immigration is the single biggest threat to our national wellbeing, an utter non-issue, or anywhere in between, there is no reason to believe refusing immigrants driver’s licenses will do anything to help the situation, and a great deal of evidence that it will make life harder for not only the immigrants themselves, but for the rest of us who profit, directly or indirectly, from their labor.
And that’s The Counterpoint.