In case you missed it previously, the DC Council was planning on a special vote today, though it had nothing to do with the general election going on. They planned to hold a final vote to approve drivers licenses for illegal immigrants which were identical to the licenses which citizen drivers receive. But even in a place like DC, that raised a few eyebrows, and now the vote has been delayed.
The D.C. Council was set to take a final vote Tuesday on a bill allowing illegal immigrants to apply for District driver’s licenses for the first time. But the vote was delayed at least two weeks after the member shepherding the bill through the council said details remained to be worked out with federal authorities.
Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said the two-week delay would allow the language of the bill to be perfected, in part to allay concerns that the measure could run afoul of federal law. Allowing undocumented residents to hold licenses indistinguishable from those held by legal residents could run afoul of the yet-to-be-implemented REAL ID Act, which sets tough standards for state ID cards.
In an interview Monday, Cheh said she has met with high-ranking officials at the Department of Homeland Security who, while not taking an official position on the legislation, raised some concerns with it.
Raised some concerns is putting it mildly. Even leaving aside the REAL ID Act, this proposal was bound to be one of the bigger lightning rods to hit the city in a while. The bill was allegedly going to provide the licenses “only to drive” which would seem to rely on the nearly foolproof honor system to ensure people didn’t use them in ways for which they weren’t intended. Other options also under consideration are to give the documents a “different color border” on the edges. (How could that possibly confuse anyone?) A second, horribly restrictive and undoubtedly raaaacist idea would have them include a small stamp saying, “not for federal identification purposes.” But nobody wants anything like that.
But immigrant advocates have opposed doing that in the District, calling it a ”scarlet letter” that would serve to alert law enforcement that the person bearing the license is in fact undocumented.
Well, heavens to Betsy! We certainly wouldn’t want a license that you might have to show to a policeman which might alert them that the person holding it was in the country illegally, would we? I mean, if you’re going to do that, you might as well just… arrest them.
It’s really getting hard to tell where the punch lines end and the real news stories begin these days.