This irritates me

After 9/11 I had to provide proof of Virginia residence and U.S. citizenship in order to renew my Virginia driver’s license – despite being born in the U.S., despite the fact that I’ve never even been out of the country (not even to Canada, when I lived practically within hiking distance of the border), and the fact that I had possessed a Virginia driver’s license continuously for fifteen years (since I was old enough to drive), with nothing more serious than a single speeding ticket. Why? Because the DMV didn’t keep an actual copy of those records when I originally got my license as a teenager, just a notation that they had been verified, and we suddenly (supposedly) got serious about not giving licenses to people who weren’t supposed to be in this country because the hijackers had gotten driver’s licenses when they weren’t supposed to. It was all for “national security”.

But yesterday a judge has barred New Mexico from simply verifying whether known illegal immigrants are even actually living in the state before issuing licenses.

Apparently, NM is one of the few states that will knowingly issue a driver’s license to illegal immigrants, if they reside in the state. After bill to stop this practice failed in the legislature, the governor issued a requirement that the state verify the residence of known foreign nationals in order for them to “get or keep” their license (it’s not clear from the article if this applies when they renew, or if it’s a blanket re-verification). The judge has temporarily stopped this order, saying that “irreparable injury” would occur from “constitutional deprivations to the applicants.”

The only positive to this is that it is a temporary restraining order. From the sounds of things, I don’t hold much hope for it, though. This is galling, because as a law abiding citizen, I had to jump through more hoops in the name of “national security” to be allowed to continue driving than someone whose first act in coming to this country was to break the law.

When will we as a nation actually get serious about security?


Media Bias and the Arizona Immigration Law

I saw this article on Yahoo this morning, and was struck by some of the blatant bias in it. Go read it for yourself, then see if you agree with me.

Here’s the most egregious example.

A ruling Wednesday by a federal judge put on hold parts of the new law that would have required officers to dig deeper into the fight against illegal immigration. Arizona says it was forced to act because the federal government isn’t doing its job to fight immigration.

Notice that? “Arizona says it was forced to act because the federal government isn’t doing its job to fight immigration.” Not illegal immigration, which is what Arizona is trying to deal with. By leaving out the key word “illegal,” they’ve chosen a phrasing that makes Arizona appear to be against any immigration – an unpopular position – rather than against illegal immigration which is, if not a popular position, at least not unpopular. They do this again later in the article.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio and some other folks there decided they can make a name for themselves in terms of the intensity of the efforts they’re using,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the pro-immigrant Immigration Policy Center. “There’s no way to deny that. There are a lot of people getting caught up in these efforts.”

Again, “pro-immigrant” rather than “pro-illegal-immigrant.” Then there’s this, talking about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio, a 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent who fashions himself as a modern-day John Wayne

Can’t you just feel the contempt dripping from that description? They’re trying to paint him as arrogant and a cowboy (remember how they vilified Bush’s “cowboy diplomacy?”) so that people won’t pay attention to what he’s actually saying. They’re distorting the facts to manipulate the entire debate.

This has been the MSM’s approach from the beginning – gloss over or ignore the fact that this law is focused on illegal immigration and enforcing existing law that the federal government has failed to enforce, and instead paint it as a racist or discriminatory act. They have never, outside of a few conservative columnists, treated this law in a neutral fashion.

While I am leery of the potential the Arizona law has for abuse, and think it could have been written better, I agree with both it’s purpose and the statement it makes to the feds. Hopefully, it will stand up in court.

[Source: AP article by Jacques Billeaud and Amanda Lee Myers. Retrieved from, July 30, 2010]

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