Spitzer Capitulates: "Scarlet Letter" Drivers' Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has given in to the feds and agreed to water down his plan to grant drivers' licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Now, there will be a three-tier system with the undocumented getting licenses that make them prime targets for state and local law enforcment officials who want to turn them over to ICE for removal.

The licenses for the undocumented are the equivalent of a scarlet letter.

“What a huge political flip,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “He’s now embracing and letting his good name be used to promote something that has been widely known in the immigrant community as one of the most anti-immigrant pieces of legislation to come out of Congress,” Ms. Hong said.

She said having separate licenses would amount to a scarlet letter for illegal immigrants. ....”The separate licenses could also serve as an invitation for law enforcement to arrest anyone carrying one on immigration charges, said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She added that the new proposal could send illegal immigrants further into the shadows, compelling them to drive with forged or no licenses and without insurance.

Wasn't it just last month that Spitzer said: "The D.M.V. is not the I.N.S."?

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    How about showing (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by tnthorpe on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 01:45:37 PM EST
    compassion for those farmers who had livings on their land before NAFTA forced them off of it?

    'I have nothing. I am here out of desperation because I am poorer than I have ever been,'' said Francisco Martínez, an elderly farmer who took part in Tuesday's march in Mexico City, carrying a sign that read ''NAFTA Equals Death''.

    Under the slogan ''the countryside can endure no more'', farmers from 24 of Mexico's 32 states marched in Mexico City to the Congress building to present their demands and later staged protests outside the U.S. and French embassies.

    UNORCA, the national union of some 30 regional peasant groups, organized the demonstrations with the aim of preventing the agricultural trade liberalization measures -- agreed under NAFTA, which comprises Canada, Mexico and the United States -- from taking effect in January.

    The new phase of liberalization entails the complete elimination of tariffs on 21 farm products, including potatoes, wheat, apples, onions, coffee, chicken and veal.
    This was 5 years ago and here in the US we act like we don't know this vast expropriation of the peasantry happened. Labor, like capital, is highly mobile now out of necessity. Thinking of labor as limited by national borders was already antiquated in the 19th century. Now it's simply fantastical. How about immigration reform that allows workers some equity with respect to capital's ease of movement? Or are we just going to refeudalize the whole dam* world?

    Is this what you call compassion? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by tnthorpe on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 02:20:07 PM EST
    Too bad for them but I got mine? Everyone knows how responsive the PRI and the succesor Mexican gov'ts have been to the poor. Mexico is only a democracy in the most abstract formal sense so those protesting had very little representation in any NAFTA proceedings.

    Trade with Mexico:  From 1999 to 2005, U.S. farm and food exports to Mexico climbed by $3.7 billion to $9.4 billion -- the highest level ever and the fourth record in 5 years under NAFTA.  U.S. exports of soybean meal, red meats, dairy products, and poultry meat all set new records in 2005.

    In the years immediately prior to NAFTA, U.S. agricultural products lost market share in Mexico as competition for the Mexican market increased.  NAFTA reversed this trend.  The United States supplied more than 71 percent of Mexico's total agricultural imports in 2005, due in part to the price advantage and preferential access that U.S. products now enjoy.  For example, Mexico's imports of U.S. red meat and poultry have grown rapidly, exceeding pre-NAFTA levels and reaching the highest level ever in 2005.

    NAFTA kept Mexican markets open to U.S. farm and food products in 1995 during the worst economic crisis in Mexico's modern history.  In the wake of the peso devaluation and its aftermath, U.S. agricultural exports dropped by 23 percent that year, but have since surged back setting new annual records.  NAFTA cushioned the downturn and helped speed the recovery because of preferential access for U.S. products.  In fact, rather than raising import barriers in response to its economic problems, Mexico adhered to NAFTA commitments and continued to reduce tariffs.

    Jan. 1, 2005, marked the 12th round of tariff cuts under NAFTA, further opening the market to U.S. products.  U.S. commodities now eligible for duty-free access under Mexico's NAFTA TRQ's include corn, dried beans, poultry, animal fats, barley, eggs, and potatoes.  All tariffs are to be eliminated by 2008.
    My point is that these figures document a systematic destruction of a whole economy, a whole society, which will continue to have repurcussions for the foreseeable future. The silly drivers licence controversy is the least of it.

    NAFTA should be scrapped and replaced with something that doesn't immiserate vast numbers of people.


    The Real Dissapointing Part (1.00 / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 02:28:43 PM EST
    Is that Spitzer is on board for Real ID. Boo Spitzer.

    Yes, BOO Spitzer (none / 0) (#3)
    by Electa on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 03:58:54 PM EST
    there are American citizens like homeless people and former incarcerated individuals who can't get a drivers license and this idiot is giving them to illegals.  He should be recalled if it's legal in NY.

    Terminology (none / 0) (#4)
    by LonewackoDotCom on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 05:16:43 PM EST
    Despite what the title of this post says, immigrants - i.e., those who came here according to our laws - can get the regular license.

    People usually do things for a reason, so perhaps everyone could try to figure out why Spitzer wanted this, and why others would want it. What you'll find at the end of that search is basically crooks looking for money and/or political power.

    for once (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 12:37:21 AM EST
    you are right. The title should have said "undocumented immigrants." I've changed it. Thanks.

    A brilliant strategy- (none / 0) (#5)
    by InsanityRules on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 05:58:01 PM EST
    Maybe next Spitzer can make prison jumpsuits mandatory for all criminals.  Then all we's has to do is send the cops out to round 'em up.  Presto - crime problem solved!

    Boy, we elect some frickin' geniuses! Wow...

    There is a solution (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 07:39:01 PM EST
    She added that the new proposal could send illegal immigrants further into the shadows, compelling them to drive with forged or no licenses and without insurance.

    Just don't come.

    Wow (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jen M on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:05:18 PM EST
    yeah, thats a solution.

    And what is your species? Cause our species don't work that way.


    Could we have some common sense? (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 09:28:23 PM EST
    Yes. If you are coming here illegally, and if where you are coming is doing something you don't like.

    Just don't come.

    And I agree. The species "LeftusDumbest" is definitely different from "us."



    I know how to sove (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Jen M on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 06:12:25 AM EST
    the problem of aggressive driving! Don't drive aggressively!!

    the problem of drugs! Just say no!

    the problem of theft!  Just don't steal!

    the problem of murder! Just don't Kill!!!!

    This by you  is common sense?  Uh huh.

    Meanwhile, back on earth, that is common alright. But not sense.


    Gee (1.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09:28:23 AM EST
    Your display of common sense is appreciated and quite surprising.

    Now how to prevent from happening for those who violate the rule:

    Close the borders.


    violate the rule (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jen M on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09:33:30 AM EST
    no one would do that

    don't be silly.


    or (none / 0) (#18)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09:41:35 AM EST
      the problem of X... make it more difficult and costly  to do X.

      I have to say that if the argument is that making it harder for people to evade detection for doing illegal thing X will cause those people doing illegal thing X to do also illegal things Y and Z we're not exactly making a great case for welcoming their presence.

      It's one thing to say people will enter and remain illegally unless we make it legal for all those people to enter and remain. Tautologies almost always work like that, don't they?

      That would solve the "problem" if we made the prejudgment is the only problem are the immigration laws which do not allow every single person who wants to emigrate here to do so. Unfortunately, on THIS Earth,  that is far from the only problem.



    LeftusDumbest? (1.00 / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 10:49:36 PM EST
    Actually the right seems way more obsessed with open borders than the left.

    The naysayers who want to limit or abolish immigration look backward to a history they do not even understand.


    Sealing the border against people willing to risk death is not a practical option, let alone a morally attractive one. The only hope is to manage the flow of people in a constructive and humane way. As President Fox says, "By building up walls, by putting up armies, by dedicating billions of dollars like every border state is doing to avoid migration, is not the way to go."


    North of the border, the solution to the problem of illegal immigration is to make it legal, or at least to normalize the movement of people. A program of temporary work visas would allow Mexicans to go home; the incentive for undocumented aliens now is to stay rather than face the border barrier a second time.



    B W Squeaky opines (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09:25:38 AM EST
    Actually the right seems way more obsessed with open borders than the left.

    I think it works like this. If you like what is going on, you don't complain...

    But I object to your claim that it is just the Right. And if it its, the Demos are in a heap of trouble.


    it aint (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jen M on Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 08:01:32 PM EST
    why is it so hard to understand: We know. So what?

    Exactly Jen..... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 09:08:14 AM EST
    So freakin' what is right.

    "Illegal" ain't what it used to mean.  Thank over-legislation.


    That is a reasonable (none / 0) (#21)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 01:51:18 PM EST
      position, but immigration reform is not synonymous with "open borders." "Open borders" is simple minded lunacy-- neither achievable nor desirable.

      On the other hand, having people espouse crackpot extremism can in some limited circumstances help. By keeping the debate broad, it can make concession in the misddle more acceptable. Open borders advocates (when they refrain from antagonizing everyone with the asinine all immigration regulation is the product of racist facism line) and the let's kick out all illegals and then build a giant fence crowd, do make everyone else look reasonable by comparison.

    Dream's Comments Have Been Erased (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 03:57:45 PM EST
    I suspected the new poster "Dream" who wrote 19 comments recently attacking the undocumented was "Pancho" whom I recently banned. An IP address check confirmed it.

    Dream is now banned and his 19 comments have been removed.

    He is not welcome here. He has violated the site's comment policy too many times and he is a chatterer.