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By Thomas Homan | Fox News

New York and New Jersey just joined a small group of states that think rewarding bad behavior with drivers’ licenses is a good thing.

Specifically, they have approved licenses for people who entered our country in violation of the law and others who, after receiving due process at great taxpayer expense, have been ordered removed by a federal judge. And remember, many of the undocumented ordered deported have criminal convictions. U.S. citizens can lose their licenses if they break the law but illegal aliens can get drivers’ licenses after violating many rules.

These legislators have forgotten a basic lesson we all learned as children: Rewarding bad behavior encourages more bad behavior.


Many leftist politicians call this a victory for the immigrant community. Wrong. It’s a victory for the illegal immigrant community. Lawful immigrants already had that right. Other politicians say it will make it easier for these immigrants to get to work and support their families. But it’s illegal for them to work and illegal for an employer to knowingly hire them.

Essentially what lawmakers have done is reward illegal behavior by granting a privilege that allows for more illegal behavior.

These laws are clearly an attempt to impede Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from doing their jobs. They also are a direct challenge to existing federal law.

The U.S. Code is clear that individuals, agencies or state and local government entities or officials cannot interfere with federal law enforcement efforts to collect, receive or share information about a person’s immigration status. The code is also clear that it is against the law to harbor or conceal fugitives from law enforcement. The New York law does the opposite on both counts.

New York has declared that the information it collects will NOT be shared with Immigration authorities without a judicial warrant. This is a complete change from past practice. And then they go a step further, stating that if a judicial warrant is obtained, New York officials will notify the target that their information is being requested.

Politicians who support and enact these ridiculous statutes seem to believe that those who violate the laws are victims who deserve rewards and those who enforce the law are the bad guys whose agencies should be abolished. 

That’s right. New York will give you a heads up to run and hide if immigration authorities request your information. That clearly seems to impede federal law enforcement officers from doing their job and actively conceals individuals from arrest.

There are other issues to consider as well. One is the documentation these immigrants will bring into the DMV in order to identify themselves. DMV employees are not experts at identifying true foreign documents and the “matricula” card issued to citizens of Mexico has been identified as extremely vulnerable to fraud by the FBI.

In addition, the issuance of more drivers’ licenses based on potentially fraudulent documentation is likely to lead to more voter fraud. Maybe that’s why the left is pushing this agenda so hard. Between this and returning voting rights to convicted felons, it looks like lawmakers are trying to stack the deck against Republicans.

Another question to consider is how these new laws square with the Real ID Act. Secure drivers’ licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, established minimum security standards for certain documents and prohibits federal agencies from accepting IDs that don’t measure up.

The left also argues that these laws will lead to safer highways and fewer traffic fatalities. But multiple studies from across the country over the last decade suggest otherwise. California has reported an increase in hit-runs and Illinois more traffic fatalities since their respective state lawmakers granted licenses to illegal immigrants.

Politicians who support and enact these ridiculous statutes have no respect for the rule of law and are putting their constituents in danger. They seem to believe that those who violate the laws are victims who deserve rewards and those who enforce the law are the bad guys whose agencies should be abolished.

They are also exacerbating the illegal immigration problem. How many more people will be encouraged to enter this country illegally because of the rewards and enticements that await? And in the process, cartels will get richer, and more children will die and more women will be sexually assaulted while attempting the journey.

I am a career law enforcement officer, not a lawyer, but my reading of the federal statutes calls into question the legality of New York’s actions. The Justice Department should immediately review these new laws and take action as appropriate.

In fact, why not take a page from the left’s playbook and file for temporary restraining orders to keep states from implementing these new laws? This has happened many times when the Trump administration has attempted to address immigration problems. It’s time we adopted this tactic to save lives and support law enforcement.

Thomas Homan formerly served as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the Trump administration. He has devoted nearly 34 years of his life to immigration and law enforcement positions.

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