SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
Don't be a fool and die for your country. Let the other sonofabitch die for his.
-- General George S. Patton

March 08, 2005

Treating Illegal Aliens With Greater Respect And Trust Than Our Own Citizens

This just makes me sick. The state of Maine issues ID card and drivers licenses to aliens that are valid beyond the expiration of their passports and/or visa's.

My name is Jennifer Pease and I am here to give testimony in favor of LD 501. I work at the bureau of Motor Vehicles, and I have taken vacation time to be here today as a private citizen. I do not represent the Bureau in any way. As a matter of fact, the only endorsement I have from the Bureau is Secretary Dunlap graciously letting me know that he supports my desire as a private citizen to do something about an issue I feel strongly about.

I would like to start by telling you some of what precipitated this proposed legislation.

I've worked for the BMV for 5 years, and until December 29, I understood our policy to be that we not issue licenses or ID cards to illegal aliens. We did issue licenses and ID cards to temporary status aliens, and that fact frequently bothered me, especially when those who were here temporarily would come in to the branch, many times just a day or two before their visas expired, to apply for a license or state ID card.

After September 11, this troubled me more and more, as one of the 9/11 terrorists Mohammed Atta had used our state to set his plan in motion.

Concerned about drawing attention to himself by using his passport, he used his Florida driver license to board the plane at the Portland Jetport, and make his connecting flight in Boston. We all know that he ended up flying that plane into one of the World Trade Center towers.

Most, if not all of the 9/11 hijackers held valid drivers licenses or state ID cards, even though in some cases their visas had expired.

This absolutely makes me sick. So basically a terrorist could come to this country on a visa wait until a day or two before it expires and then go to the state of Maine and get a drivers license or state ID card that would be valid for years beyond the Visa. Why not just give them a "bypass security" card to make their efforts even easier.

I think the outcome could have been different if those licenses had expired when their visas did. If they had not been provided a credential to take the place of their passport with the expired visas, perhaps some wouldn't have been permitted to board a plane.

These thoughts occur frequently when you work in a place where you see the hundreds and hundreds of applications every year, submitted by temporary status aliens and you are required to give them a license or ID card that is valid most times 5 years beyond their approved stay. During the fall of 2004, I heard talk of a policy change. It was rumored that it would require us to ignore the expiration dates on passports and visas, and would result BMV employees knowingly issuing licenses and ID cards to illegal aliens. We were instructed to process transactions as always until we received official notice of the change.

I began inquiring into it and found that, while part of the state was being inundated with temporary status and illegal aliens and had adopted a policy of not issuing licenses or ID cards to illegal aliens, other areas of the state were not even giving it a second thought because they had not yet been affected. Secretary Gwadosky had decided to standardize policy - Great Idea - Except that he decided to standardize by establishing a sanctuary policy, as the only people who would benefit from the policy were the illegal aliens. In late December of last year an incident occurred that was quite troubling to me.

Sounds to me like part of the state had the right idea, but politics beat out common sense.

An Egyptian national came into the Portland branch with his attorney and wanted to transfer his license from New York to Maine. The attorney said his client was a New York resident, had never been a Maine resident, and had no intention of ever moving to or living in Maine, but he wanted a Maine license. He could not renew his New York license because he was an illegal alien. The attorney went on to say he had contacted (at the time Secretary Gwadosky's) office, and was told that we would be able to provide a license for his client.

He gave me a name of a contact person in the Main Office who knew of the situation. For documentation, I was provided with a New York learner permit, (not a license, but a permit), a photocopy of the man's New York driver license, and a photocopy of his Egyptian passport. For clarity sake, you need to know that I would not have been permitted to process a transfer of a license from another state for a US citizen with the documents this man presented me.

I contacted immigration and found that in fact the man was an illegal alien in deportation proceedings, and that he would most probably be deported. Also, the last correspondence INS had received regarding this man just a few weeks prior, was a letter from an attorney in Boston who told them that this individual lived in New Jersey. I then called the Main Office to relay this information to the person the attorney had named as a contact. The end result was that we issued a license to this individual. The license was mailed to a post office box in Portland, so the attorney could forward it to his client, wherever he was. I feel it important to note that not once have I seen the exceptions that were made for this illegal alien made for a US citizen. This is not the only incident, just one of the most egregious ones.

At just about the same time as the visit from the Egyptian man and his attorney, Secretary Gwadosky began implementing his "standardization" by sending out letters to various advocacy groups, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Social Security Administration. We received our official notification of the policy _verbally_. We were instructed to ignore expiration dates of passports and visas, and the implementation date was to be December 29, just two days before the end of Secretary Gwadosky's tenure as Secretary of State.

She issued a drivers license to a man in deportation status?!? Makes me a bit upset to know I was born in that state.

So, where are we now? Current Bureau policy is to ignore the expiration dates on passports and visas, and to knowingly issue licenses and ID cards to illegal aliens.

Annually, in my branch alone I see many hundreds of temporary status and illegal aliens, with the illegal aliens making up about ten percent of that number.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are approximately 3000 illegal aliens in Maine, and in the year 2003 alone 38, 447 temporary status aliens came to Maine, of them on 6-month tourist visas or 1-year business visas. This figure doesn't include those admitted as refugees.

In the last couple of years, I have seen a tremendous increase in the number of temporary status and illegal aliens who come to apply for Maine licenses and ID cards because they cannot get a license in the state they live in due to the tightening up of policy or legislation passed since September 11th.

Currently there are 40 states with a legal presence policy or legislation, 24 of those states require the license to expire when the visa does.

To give you an idea of what our neighboring and North Eastern states are doing: NH, CT, & NJ have Legal Presence Laws. MA, VT, NY, & RI have legal presence policies.

In fact, the entire eastern seaboard has some sort of legal presence requirement established. While we in Maine have become the island sanctuary in the sea of states that will not issue a license to an illegal alien.

Under this legislation we would require nonimmigrants to provide proof of their legal presence, and the license or ID would expire when the visa expires. Those with open-ended visas such as students, would receive a two-year license.

Additionally, those who are provided a license with a term less than the standard term for a license would be charged on a sliding scale. All people who are legally in this country would be provided a license or ID for the duration of their stay. This is fair and reasonable legislation. The majority who are responsible law abiding people that we issue licenses or ID cards to only need and want them for the time they are here. And, logically it makes absolutely no sense for us to issue a 6-year credential to a person who is only planning to be here for a few months.

This legislation is consistent with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and also with the recommendation by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in September of 2003 that "jurisdictions not grant a photo driver's license or photo ID card to undocumented aliens."

Illegal aliens will be precluded from getting a license under this legislation. Providing a license to an illegal alien is like rolling out the red carpet to them. A license or ID has an added benefit to a person who intends to overstay their visa or is already an illegal alien. They can put their passport away with their expired visa and use the state-issued valid credential in its place. For a minimum of 6 years that illegal alien can remain undetected.

Think about all the times you are asked for a license. A license or ID is required to get a job, open a bank account, write a check, buy a car, register to vote, sign a lease, apply for public benefits, enter a federal building, or board an airplane. An illegal alien should not be needing to do any of these things, except perhaps to board an airplane to go home; and the state of Maine should not be helping them to remain illegally in the United States in violation of law. This defies all logic and common sense in my mind. I also believe that the issuance of a license or ID card to an illegal alien in itself is a violation of federal harboring laws. Though I do believe most people are good, my concern lies with those few who are not. Unfortunately, we have recent evidence that those who are not good do in fact exist.

While you are considering this legislation, I would ask you to think about what we could have done differently. And in retrospect, taking into account what we now know, would you have supported this legislation on September 10th 2001, if you thought that it might have prevented any of the lives from being lost on September 11?

Of course this isn't possible, and can't rewrite history, but we can learn from it. We cannot afford to wait until it's our state that provides the licenses to the next group of terrorists.

This is a non-partisan issue, it's a human issue, and a safety issue. I do not see this as policing, but acting as responsible citizens, our state agency working with our federal government rather than against it, and keeping the best interest and the safety of all of us in mind.

Americans can no longer tolerate power-drunk politicians' support of giving drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. Their reason for support isn't even a principled one; it's only greed for the license fees to offset their state budget deficits.

Have we forgotten that many of the 9/11 hijackers possessed drivers' licenses from Florida, New Jersey and Virginia. Yet certain states still actively pursuing legislation to give drivers' licenses to illegal alien lawbreakers. And yet the US Dept. of Transportation's 2004 report shows that the US STILL lacks sufficient safeguards. The primary lack is from the large number of states that don't require drivers' license applicants to show proof of legal presence in the US.

If you're not concerned about your state's issuance of driver's licenses for illegal aliens, you should be. Americans must continue to oppose any plan to issue drivers' licenses to illegal alien lawbreakers. Giving them the privilege of a drivers' license ID rewards those who have flaunted our laws by illegal entry into the US.

When will our elected officials represent American citizens instead of illegal aliens? Allowing illegal alien invaders to obtain a driver's license is like putting your fist through a window and enjoying it. Simply put, no licenses for lawbreakers!

It would have been easy for Jennifer Pease to keep silent; she had to have been concerned that she might jeopardize her employment. It would have been easy for her to ignore the "monkey business" in her department, as well as its implication the country's security. Instead she stepped forward to hold Maine's elected legislators publicly accountable for their actions--they can't claim they didn't know.

There are millions more brave Americans like Jennifer Pease, each doing their part. How can you help?

This whole situation just makes my blood boil. A person with a valid ID or drivers license is rarely asked for any other type of identification and in the mind of most screeners would automatically be viewed as a legal resident of the state that issued the ID or license. The implications are mind boggling. It is like handing the bomb and the access to a terrorist.

I am grateful that there are people like Jennifer Pease who are willing to stand up for what is right. Wake up America, if we keep handing them access it is only going to get worse.

H/T to Mamamontezz for the link.

SlagleRock Out!

Posted by SlagleRock at March 8, 2005 12:30 AM

Driver Licenses are issued by the State Governments, whereas Passports and Immigration documents are issued by the National Government. According to our Constitution, all powers not delegated to the National Government is reserved for the States or People.

What this article describes to me is the ineffectiveness of the DHS in enforcing their own byzantine immigration laws and then expecting the less-endowed State governments, like Maine to their work for them - a de facto "Federal Mandate".

Maine has recently earned the reputation of treating people who are less fortunate in their legal status with respect and dignity.

The people of Maine will decide who the Maine government issues Maine identification to, not D.C.

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 8, 2005 04:43 AM

That is pure sophistry Mr Baber. Treating people with respect and dignity doesn't mean that you ignore common sense and allow illegals valid identification. A state can not abet a federal law being broken.

That some may slip by would be understandable, but to KNOWINGLY abet a person committing an illegal act is far beyond "doing the work" for the INS. A requirement of having a valid Visa/Passport for a resident alien to obtain a drivers license is not abrogating the states rights. It doesn't affect legal aliens in any way, other than to have a valid ID, which is required of Citizens as well.

Posted by: delftsman3 at March 8, 2005 11:20 AM

Mainely Canadian Eh.

Posted by: Jack at March 9, 2005 09:27 AM

Maine may be just another Canadian province.Or so it seemed to me,during my four years of residence there.

Posted by: PappaSlagle at March 10, 2005 06:35 PM

Perhaps I didn't understand the question. I don't see how Maine is treating some people better than others - would you be willing to explain?

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 12, 2005 01:10 AM


Apparently you also cannot read. Ms Pease states specifically in her testimony that a citizen could not be issued a license based on the documentation proffered by the illegal aliens. One would think that even the LLL would be able to understand that the citizens of the US and the state should be treated at least as well as the illegal aliens.

Posted by: dick at March 13, 2005 03:42 PM

Ms. Pease had been given authorization by her superiors to issue the license. For the applicant's sake, the decision to issue was not hers to make. It is good she had redressed government of her grievance. Let's see what happens.

I'm not sure that issuing a driver's license at the state level is abetting an illegal act at the national level. To me, the two issues seem independent of each other.

Why is it so dangerous for those whose national-level papers are out of order to have a driver license anyway? Is it a fear of driving or something else? For example, they can board planes without driver licenses.

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 13, 2005 04:46 PM

Driver's license should not be used as ID for border crossings, public transportation system (trains, bus, airplanes). A driver's license purpose is to certify that an individual can operate a motor vehicle. A National ID card should be use for all of the above mention things. ID should be a federal thing and not be at the state level. Everybody is worry about privacy issues but you have to give up something for national security. Its just ridiculous that we use driver's license as ID especially when there's more than 50 styles of driver's license. One last thing, people that need their work visa renew every yr (especially when waiting for their green card to process) will have to go renew their driver's license every year. Also there might be times that they are still technically legal alien residents but they won't have their new visa yet showing their term of stay. So does that mean that they won't be allow to drive since their previous driver's license would've expire and dmv won't let them renew it since they don't have their new visa yet. Just think about this for a moment. We're really on human beings just that our status is different. It doesn't make it any better that freedom of mobility is taken away.

Posted by: anonymous at August 13, 2005 11:44 PM
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