HARTFORD — As the sun rose early Thursday morning, majority Democrats in the Connecticut House of Representatives approved a controversial measure that will require to Department of Motor Vehicles to issue valid drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants beginning in 2015.
Opponents of the bill said the bill was rushed and, as a result, comes with an assortment of potential pitfalls that could otherwise be avoided. Deputy House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said he is disappointed the majority party felt the need to force the issue without going through the proper committee and public hearing process.
“Even if one agrees with the concept of providing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants there are a number of problems and unintended consequences that can arise in the implementation of the law,” Candelora said. “I think it is irresponsible to rush something like this when we don’t have to. There is no emergency.”
Candelora noted that 7 of the 11 states that have implemented the program have repealed it due to the serious problems that arose. In hopes of avoided a similar fate in Connecticut Candelora and his Republican colleagues offered an amendment that would require a task force be created to study the process and procedure of granting such licenses. The amendment failed with all Republicans voting in favor.
During debate it was discovered that the bill would prevent undocumented immigrants who were convicted of a felony in Connecticut from obtaining a license; however, felony convictions in other states would not be a factor. An amendment to fix that arbitrary distinction also failed.
“In light of the recent terror attack in Boston, If we are going to move forward on issuing foreign undocumented immigrants with a state issued licenses, proper public safety measures, like fingerprinting this applicants, should have been included.” added Candelora. “We require fingerprinting for law abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment right, we should do no less for an undocumented immigrant seeking the privilege of obtaining a license.”
The bill now awaits action by Senate. The 2013 legislative session adjourns June 5.