Bringing Together Conservative Voices

Horowitz: Why is Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt pushing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens?

Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the rule of law and must be halted.” ~RNC platform

As soon as Democrats secured control of the Minnesota legislature, they immediately passed a flurry of far-left legislation, including extending driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. One would expect that red states would work assiduously to do the opposite – to actually make illegal immigration illegal by cutting off all state benefits to illegal immigrants. Instead, Oklahoma, one of the reddest states in the union, is now pushing to allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses with the help of Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Rather than pushing bills to disincentivize illegal immigration, as Ron DeSantis is doing in Florida, Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature, with the backing of Gov. Kevin Stitt, passed a bill, SB669, out of committee that, if signed into law, would make illegal aliens eligible for modified driver’s licenses. The bill passed the Committee on Aeronautics & Transportation 7-6, despite the 11-2 GOP majority on the panel.

The Senate bill is authored by Democrat immigration attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez, who is also on the board of a group supporting amnesty. That is not a surprising resume for a Democrat, but what is surprising is how this could get so much support from Republicans in a state like this at a time like this, when the American people are suffering from the ill effects of the mass border invasion.

The House bill, HB 2114, is identical but, as a slap in the face to conservatives, is named the “Liberty Bill,” an acronym for “Lowering Insurance and Benefiting the Economy, Roads, Taxpayers, and Yourself (LIBERTY) Act.” You know, because somehow importing the entire third world is a stroke of ingenuity for taxpayers. Daniel Pae, a very liberal Republican who pushed this same driver’s license bill last year, was the one who changed the name of the bill. It passed the House Judiciary Committee 6-3 on March 2.

In a twist of the ultimate irony, the principal House author is Ryan Martinez, who is awaiting trial for a second DUI – a felony that, if he’s convicted, disqualifies him from office. Not surprisingly, illegal alien DUIs are a huge problem, and this bill will facilitate them to be on the roads more. For example, in fiscal year 2018, just in one year of apprehensions with very limited resources, ICE arrested a pool of aliens who together racked up 80,730 DUIs, not including over 76,000 other driving offenses.

To make matters worse, Ryan Martinez called Governor Stitt racist on the House floor last year for opposing a bill recognizing more authority of Indian tribal courts. Bizarrely, Stitt has chosen to go along with Martinez’s charade. Last year, he said granting illegal aliens driver’s licenses would lower insurance premiums and expressed hope that the bill would get to his desk so he could sign it. One has to wonder if this has something to do with Stitt’s embrace of a Mexican consulate coming to Oklahoma City.

Clearly, the Mexican government and those who lobby for it have more clout with the governor than citizens harmed by illegal alien crimes and drunk driving and the cost associated with the presence of illegal aliens in the state. According to a 2019 Harvard-Harris Poll, 72% of overall voters, 85% of Republicans, and 76% of suburban voters oppose granting them driver’s licenses. Those numbers are likely higher in Oklahoma. But the majority of voters in every red state are overpowered by those like the Farm Bureau who are championing this bill.

Throughout the debate, Republicans made a counterintuitive argument that somehow the way to deal with Biden’s border invasion is to invite the invaders into the state to better control them. But in reality, denying benefits at the state level is more effective in disincentivizing illegal immigration than even border security. And no, impoverished illegal aliens from the third world are not the ticket to Oklahoma’s prosperity. A new Federation for American Immigration Reform study found that illegal immigration costs American taxpayers $151 billion annually, a 30% increase since 2017. Sure, illegal immigrants contribute some payroll taxes, but that doesn’t cover the $78 billion expense to K-12 education and $42.7 billion cost in uncompensated health care. FAIR estimates that the cost of the state’s 183,000 illegal aliens (along with their children) is roughly $783 million. That’s a massive number for a small state, given that the entire FY 2023 budget was just $10.6 billion.

Also, does anyone really think the state of Oklahoma has the resources to vet these people and to make sure they are who they say they are? Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, warned that states that have done this in the past have done a poor job of finding the true identities of people who subsist on stolen identity. “The state of Oklahoma should not be sanctioning the presence of illegal aliens by giving them an official identity document, especially when the person’s identity cannot be verified by the state and when the person has no lawful status,” warned Vaughan.

Take a look at the sorts of military-age men invading our border – literally – every day, and are you confident that somehow this status will “domesticate” them rather than empower them to remain against our will?


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Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe warns that what they are experiencing in their border counties is the influx of primarily military-age men wearing camouflage and carrying backpacks. He also said in a recent interview that many of them are armed and are committing robberies. “They set up in our cities, take over through voting and/or crime, and scare the local people who move out. It’s happening in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio,” he said.

How could Oklahoma Republicans in good conscience promote rather than disincentivize this invasion?

The real answer to illegal immigration is for the red states to actually make it illegal to be here illegally! At a minimum, that means no state recognition or benefits for them across the board. The single biggest magnet in this country is the ability of illegal aliens to work, over 30 years after Congress made it illegal for them to work in exchange for amnesty. If you cut that off, it’s game over.

DeSantis is headed in the opposite direction from Kevin Stitt. As the Florida legislature convenes, he is proposing increased penalties on human smuggling and document fraud, mandatory E-verify to dry up the job magnet, and invalidating all out-of-state IDs for recognition in Florida, just like the sort of IDs Stitt plans to issue. He also wants to track the cost of illegal immigrants in health care and bolster the budget to fly them out of the state. The Florida governor has also authorized the Florida National Guard to interdict illegal alien maritime smugglers who try to enter Florida. Over 11,000 have been returned to their country of origin since last August.

DeSantis has also called for a state-based “return to Mexico” policy, but unfortunately he doesn’t have too many Republican governors to work with. They are headed in the opposite direction because they are beholden to the big corporations and foreign government lobbies.

So, the next time you hear Republicans complain about illegal immigration as if it’s a natural disaster, just know that it is in their power to deter the invasion. It’s not that they can’t disincentivize illegal immigration; it’s that they want more of it.