Bishops: let undocumented immigrants have driver's licenses

It’s the bishops of New Mexico, and they wrote about it yesterday.


Allowing undocumented immigrants living in New Mexico to have a driver’s license if they can provide a valid ID is a matter of “mercy, fairness and safety,” said the state’s three Catholic bishops.

“We are in favor of allowing individuals without Social Security numbers to obtain licenses provided that they present other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport, consular identification card, or other recognized government-issued documents, currently required by present law,” they said.

“We believe this is in the interest of all New Mexicans,” said Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe and Bishops Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces and James S. Wall of Gallup in a statement published Aug. 17 as an op-ed piece in the Albuquerque Journal daily newspaper.

It was released Aug. 15 in Santa Fe by the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the bishops.

The three Catholic leaders said they support the positive contributions immigrants have brought to New Mexico and the rest of the country but at the same time recognize the right of the United States to regulate its borders and control immigration.

The bishops said they understand people’s frustration that the illegal status of some immigrants in the United States and the lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, reform that is of “enormous importance.” But laws and public policies must treat immigrants with justice and dignity, they added.

Read more about it.

And read the bishops’ op-ed piece right here.

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15 responses to “Bishops: let undocumented immigrants have driver's licenses”

  1. Again, hate the term undocumented. If they have simply lost their legal documents, that is undocumented. If they knowingly broke the law and do nto have documents as a result, it is called illegal. And those who are opposed to rewarding those who break our laws are not against immigration. I am not against people withdrawing money legally from their own bank account, and if they have lost their documents helping them to get their money. However, that is a far cry from those trying to remove money not theirs by illegal means. Does this make me anti banking?

    Reading a book about terrorist using the wide open border to put sleepers into place for future attacks on our country. If we allow the federal government to get away with not closing our borders to these illegal activities, we are going to suffer for it far more than states going bankrupt or people losing jobs as we see today. And stop the rhetoric about they only take the jobs of those who do not want that type of work. They are killing stealing jobs in landscaping, construction, roofing, resturants, and many other areas away from those who use to have them.

    I suggest these Bishops use the funds of the Church to support the illegals they want protected and supported and give them jobs. While I have sympathy for those in need and donate funds to help the poor, I do not think the Church or anyone should be confusing this with those who chose to disobey the laws of the land.

  2. I would be in favor of granting the undocumented workers chauffeurs as well. But not at taxpayers’ expense. Instead, let us have a third collection in all of the churches this Sunday. Pass it on.

  3. Where’s my driver’s license? Stop discriminating against me, bishops, just because I’m uncoordinated and can’t drive. Scream to your death alongside me! It’ll be great!

  4. Bishops are seeing a decline in attendance and contributions in many areas. This type of action should speed that along.

    I think we should all withold our donations the next few weeks and insert a short note saying the actions by the bishops supporting illegal activity must end. I do not have a problem if they want to support changes in immigration laws to allow more to immigrate, but they should make the case how that will not impact the jobs of those citizens already in this country. Maybe an undocumented void check is the best route for donations.

  5. Just left a phone message. I will not support this. I need to know where the Albany NY diocese stands on this. Really upsetting and wrong.

  6. Completely ignored is that this is not about driving, but voting, because the “Motor Voter” act establishes that anyone who can get a driver’s license can register to vote. I propose the following deal: state motor vehicle offices can stop inquiring about citizenship or immigration status, as long as they are prohibited from registering people to vote. And that everyone who DOES get to register to vote (with the city or county clerk, not the DMV) has to show proof of citizenship. And if you give drivers licenses to illegals (not to mention legal immigrants) then a drivers license is NOT proof of citizenship.

  7. Cathy nailed it. It is about voting registration and the fact that one party was overwhelming influence over those votes.

  8. I’m waiting for the bishops to fight for the rights of convicted felons to have voting privileges. Isn’t that only “just” “merciful” and “fair”? If they are worried about justice, fairness, and mercy, then they should discourage illegal immigration. Why put your family at risk of being separated? Do it legally and there isn’t a problem.

    And, a drivers license is a document that opens the door to so many other services.

  9. The “Motor Voter Act” did not establish that anyone who could get a drivers license could register to vote, only that persons applying or renewing their drivers licenses WHO WERE OTHERWISE QUALIFIED to vote had to be given the opportunity to register through the form, which must include attestations that the applicant meets the qualifications for voting. Otherwise, we would have had a lot of 16 year olds voting since 1994.

  10. Kathy G — The problem is that for the vast majority of the illegals there is no opportunity to “do it legally,” because our immigration laws are far too restrictive. The exhortation to “do it legally” is a cruel mockery when there is no opportunity to do it legally.

    Rather than enforce a broken system, we need first to reform the system and then to enforce a reasonable set of laws.

  11. There are about 120 million Mexicans south of the border. 50 % live under the UN definition of poverty, an income of a dollar a day or less. A poll taken not too long ago found that half of the Mexican population would emigrate to the U.S. If possible. As long as Mexico remains poor,violent, horribly unequal, it’s government utterly corrupt and it’s society in disintegration, it will not matter what we do here in the U.S. People will come looking for freedom of opportunity, work and a decent life for their families. You cannot shut a two thousand wide border unless you are willing to militarize it like East Berlin during the Cold War. We need an intelligent, congruent solution. The current state of immigration regulations is fomenting the illegal flow.

  12. I asked God to set me straight one way or the other because I was so p’o’d over the illegal immigrant thing with the New Mexico bishops I was very close to canceling my bishop’s appeal pledge. I have a call into the Albany diocese. Anyway, I was listening to my Fulton Sheen dvd and he was talking about evil and how it infiltrates even the church and I realized that by canceling my pledge (I would’ve diverted it elsewhere) I was permitting the stinking few to hurt the church; bishops who advocate criminal activity(“undocumented” b.s.) put a strain on the system paid for by taxpayers and ultimately cause worse conditions in the end, creating chaos and disorder and damage. Part of the damage created by these fools is pissing off idiots like me who react rashly. God set me straight, as always. I’m leaving my donation alone. It all so complicated but not when you involve God.

  13. naturgesetz and Rudy, The laws of this country have added hundreds of thousands to the role of legal immigration in the last 10 years or so. We cannot and should not bring in those who cause severe problems within our country and its citizens. The federal government indeed has that role.

    Again, I think if there is a need for more immigration, then the case needs to be made to the congress and the politicians need to make the change. I know of no group including employers asking for this change unless the employer is seeking a way to lower their cost putting Americans out of work.

    We do no need to fight to keep illegals out, we need to dry up jobs for illegals. If the government established a program as they do with whistleblowers, we could have illegal immigration problems ended tomorrow. Establish a massive fine with increasing amounts for any company who hires an illegal immigrant. Offer a reward of 25% of the fine to anyone who reports illegal hiring that proves to be true. No jobs, no illegal immigration if jobs are the goal. Then you could concentrate on those coming here for other illegal reasons such as drugs. You could do the same for drugs with confiscation of property for the use of drugs with a percentage going to anyone who reports a seller of drugs or a user. You would dry up the drug market in a short time frame by killing the market.

    There is no difference in this and the whistle blower programs.

    We cannot end poverty by allowing the poor to enter our country when there is no need for them for jobs which pay a living wage. This is another liberal attempt to do the right thing with zero common sense like taking care of every problem with a federal program and no common sense method of funding it without killing incentive and jobs creation.

    As to the issue with Mexico and its mess, it is not our mess and we need to make sure that our relations with the Mexican government is not one which fosters illegal immigration or wide spread drug and violence expansion. Expanding the numbers of people who can get here with virtually open borders makes no sense to solve the problem, only makes it worse.

  14. Went to church today and in my donation envelope left a blank void “undocumented check” to the bishops fund and a message to our parish to make sure they pass it along. If we are going to be paying huge new taxes as a result of open borders while the church leadership supports crime, I will have that much left to give to support the parish and the church.

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