Democrats Push Bill to Give Driver's Licenses and ID Cards to Illegal Immigrants
Driving licenses would allow illegal aliens to legally buy guns in the US
Wisconsin's Democratic Governor Tony Evers has laid out plans to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses and ID cards during his Biennial Budget Address.
The new push for illegal aliens was one of a number of new proposals outlined by the newly elected Democrat in his budget, that are not directly related to money.
The liberal new gov's push would make illegals eligible for driver's licenses and state IDs, which would then pave the way for them to legally purchase guns and qualify for other benefits normally reserved for legal citizens.
The governor claims that granting illegal immigrants licenses to drive will lead to safer roads and also boost the state's economy.
It's estimated that 15,000 undocumented immigrants live in Brown County alone.
"I think having driver's licenses for people who are here illegally will make Green Bay and all of Wisconsin safer for all of us," said Green Bay Police Department Chief Andrew Smith.
According to ABC2, the issue has been a conversation among law enforcement officers across the state for more than a decade.
"Right now, you have individuals out there that aren't trained," said Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski.
"They come to our area -- and how they get there, not an issue that we're part of; they're here.
"They're here raising families. Our children are going to school together. We shop at the same stores together. They're here.
"They're not trained as far as driving. They have no way of getting insurance."
A driver's license enables American citizens to buy guns, travel internationally and voice their opinions at the polls.
The state ID card being debated would only give illegal immigrants the ability to drive legally without any of the extra privileges.
"I think it's important that we take all of the emotion of immigration out of this and look at it from a practical standpoint," said Chief Smith.
Illegal immigrants would be responsible for paying for the driver's license and required to go through all of the training and testing outlined by law.
Smith says issuing driver's licenses to those here illegally would help alleviate the fear of law enforcement that many of them have.
He adds that it also would help officers hold those who do commit crimes accountable.
"If we have 15,000 people living in the shadows here in Wisconsin in our own county. It's pretty tough to figure out who did it if we don't have an ID when we don't have a photo ID, we don't have an address, a fingerprint or anything to start from," he said.
"It really is helpful for our detectives if someone has some kind of government-issued ID, so we know at least where to start if we're looking for someone."
The REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 required states to look at immigration status before issuing driver's licenses or state IDs.
Prior to that legislation, Wisconsin, like many other states, did not take immigration into account.
"Many times I meet people here, older people in our community that have lived here for decades, that used to have a driver's license, had a clean driving record, but couldn't get that license renewed because they had the rules changed on them," said Smith.
Twelve states across the country give illegal immigrants the ability to get a driver's license.
Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) says the proposal needs to be separated from the budget and considered on its own merits.
The Assembly majority leader is not sure if there has ever been legislation on this issue brought before state lawmakers, but he doubts it would have enough support if it were to be brought forward.