On road to legal driving
By Mary Elena Salinas
Pretend for a moment that you work for me. Lets say I hired you to do the dirty, backbreaking jobs that I either cant do or wont do. Jobs like mowing the lawn, re-roofing the house or emptying the septic tank. Or the time-consuming jobs that my busy schedule wont allow me to do, like taking care of my children or an elderly relative.
Lets say I agreed to pay you as little money as possible, of course once the job is done, but I insist on one condition: You are not allowed to drive to my house to do these jobs. I insist that you walk, take a bus, catch a train or get a ride with a friend.
Sound ridiculous? Of course it does. But thats exactly what is happening to millions of undocumented immigrants across the country. Despite the fact that they already live and work in this country, they are being denied drivers licenses simply because they do not have a Social Security number, which in many states is required to get a drivers license.
These are people who already live in our communities. They drive to work. They drop off and pick up their kids at school every day. They visit the local mall, just like the rest of us. Yet they are not allowed to obtain valid drivers licenses.
Right now, 29 states allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. In Texas, which also has a large immigrant population, the legislature approved the use of alternative documentation for drivers license applicants. Despite bipartisan support, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the measure. He apparently was following the same wrong-headed anti-immigrant sentiment that Davis followed.
Letting immigrants get their licenses makes perfect sense.
First of all, immigrants be they legal or not must drive in order to survive, in most states. They contribute to this countrys economy. They need to drive in order to get to their jobs.
Second, we dont want people on the roads who dont know the rules of our roads. For our own safety and theirs, they should be allowed to get licenses.
And lets not forget that they are doing the jobs that let us do ours and enjoy the American way of life.