San Francisco ID Program: Legitimizing Illegal Immigration
I have a new column at SFGate that examines the implications of San Francisco's program to bestow municipal ID cards upon illegal immigrants. Read on:
Continue reading "San Francisco ID Program: Legitimizing Illegal Immigration"
During the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia last month, Sen. Hillary Clinton found out firsthand just how contentious a subject illegal immigration is likely to be in the 2008 election.
Expressing support, however equivocal, for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposal to provide drivers licenses for illegal immigrants put Clinton in her most perilous position to date. It also shed light on her propensity for pandering, considering that in 2004 she fashioned herself a hard-liner on illegal immigration.
Clinton soon backed off from her debate stance and, not long after, Spitzer did the same, dispensing with the driver's license plan in the face of mounting bipartisan criticism. Clearly, this was not a popular position with a majority of Americans, regardless of political party.
Yet even as this drama unfolded on the national stage, San Francisco city officials were preparing to implement a similarly misguided policy. Supervisor Tom Ammiano introduced a measure earlier this month to provide municipal identification cards to illegal immigrants, transgender people, senior citizens no longer capable of driving, and other city residents, who either cannot or will not obtain a state-issued driver's license. To be eligible, residents will need to provide a passport, foreign driver's license or other photo ID, in addition to a recent utility bill or bank statement. The Board of Supervisors approved the measure 10-1 and Mayor Gavin Newsom has pledged to do sign it into law. The proposal will go into effect in August, 2008, making San Francisco the largest city to offer such a program.