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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Denies Driver’s Licenses and Benefits to Illegal Immigrants

August 17, 2012

It’s a bit of a conundrum even to write this title, that state benefits are denied to illegal immigrants.  I have to put illegal in there, because the immigrants never achieved “legal” status, but it’s going to irritate people.  Truthfully, the immigrants in discussion entered the country illegally, but generally with their parents’ help.  Because President Obama wanted to give illegal immigrants some benefits for working toward education, he introduced a policy to allow illegal immigrants under the age of 31, who entered the country as children, the option of applying for a driver’s license, with the caveat that the states had to okay it first.

Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, nixed the plan to offer driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in her state, citing budgetary concerns.  Arizona has long held that the budget of that state can’t handle the influx of illegal immigrants.  Obama’s plan is the prototypical election year fodder:  we want only the educated illegals to stay here or maybe “you-can-stay-if -you-want-to-go-to-school/pay for yourself in the future.”  His plan has no public commentary on the criminal status of illegal immigrants seeking legal documentation, which actually is part of the problem with discussions regarding immigrants in Arizona, followed shortly by a drain on public services.

Mexico’s response has been historically weird, even for a nation governed largely by drug-runner, or maybe because drug-running corruption is so enshrined in much of Mexico’s border government:  the Mexican government has pushed to file briefs on behalf of its citizens in the U.S. courts, as if the Mexican government truly rules in the U.S., too. These briefs assert that for some inexplicable reason, the Mexican government believes its citizens should have the legal rights in America that U.S. citizens enjoy in America.  And this disconnect has angered many Americans.  Throw in elevated rates of crime in pockets of poverty, and the entrails that seem to stream from all other eviscerated communities like increased drug trade, corruption, violent crime, and Jan Brewer’s policies become popular with Americans, just as popular as Obama’s misguided policy to let only  the educated illegal immigrants get benefits while not addressing the costly problems of illegal immigration on state budgets.

Part of the problem is that the U.S. has been in the grips of a recession, so while there may be menial work available and untouched by U.S. citizens, it’s not the work that Americans quibble over, it’s the governmental benefits that get handed out for free or at a reduced rate to illegal immigrants while U.S. citizens are held to a different standard.  When there is not enough to go around, everyone fights over what little there is to be had.  Mexico hasn’t had enough resources for years to cover its poverty-stricken constituents, hence the influence of drug smuggling over governmental authority, the rash of kidnappings, and brutal murders.  Americans are afraid that if they listen to the Mexican government or allow Mexican citizens to become “legal,” that Americans will have less money and see an increase in crime and drug money imports.  Mexico, for its part, has done little to quell the influence of drug money on its government, despite massive campaign promises.

It’s not surprising that Jan Brewer nixed the idea of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.  It’s not surprising that she was elected in a state that is fighting to make its budgetary goals.  What is surprising is that the strategy Obama offered was so paltry for all involved.

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