(Assemblyman Jim Wheeler) – There seems to be a lot of hoopla over the “Dream-act-light” issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. On the one hand, people are saying we are disenfranchising a section of our population by not issuing this privilege to people, who through no fault of their own, are in this country in contravention of our laws.
I have to admit, I do feel for these people. They came here as infants and small children on the backs (sometimes literally) of their parents who were looking for a better life. They were raised here and they adopted American ways even though they truly were not allowed to be full-fledged Americans, with all of the rights and privileges that come with that status. I get it. It’s not their fault. But guess what? It’s not my fault either. Nor is it your fault.
This brings us to the other hand.
We are a nation of immigrants, people who, just like those mentioned above, came here in order to give themselves and their children a better life. This country would not exist without immigrants. But we also are a nation of laws, with laws that govern our everyday lives. Laws that govern our elected officials. Laws that govern our businesses, and yes, laws that govern our immigration policies. There was a time when all of those laws meant something.
The framers of our Constitution never intended for those laws to be put aside for a special group of people. The very essence of this country is the plain and simple fact that all people are created equal. Part of that equation is the fact that our laws, as well as our benefits, apply to all people equally. The individual rights that come with being a citizen also come with the individual responsibilities imposed upon each citizen and as long as we keep pandering to special groups there never will be true equality in this country.
There’s also the question of consequential law: will these people be required to obtain insurance? Will accredited insurance companies even sell insurance to a non-citizen since that person cannot legally hold a paying job in this country? Or will another special exemption be made to that law? If so, will we the taxpayer be shouldered with the responsibility of providing it through our uninsured motorist policies, or some form of state insurance exchange, thus raising our premiums?
One of the things about this Country that make it truly exceptional is the fact that we have the power to change the laws that govern us. You can do it through the ballot box or you can do it through an initiative process. As citizens of this great Nation you have that power. But until that happens, I don’t see any way in the world that we should usurp our own laws by bypassing the people’s vote. To me, this “Dream-act-light” is blatant pandering to a small group of voters.
(Mr. Wheeler is a Republican representing Nevada’s 39th Assembly District in northern Nevada)