At the conclusion of a seven-hour House debate through the night which ended at 5:45 a.m., Representatives Laura Hoydick (R-120) voted in opposition to a bill which would require the State Department of Motor Vehicles to issue valid Connecticut driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants who reside in the state in violation of federal immigration laws.
“I believe we all want to do something to fix the problems with our broken immigration system, but this isn’t a solution,” said Rep. Hoydick. “With a social problem of this magnitude, we really need to be crafting policy a better way. The task force we recommended could have completed its work in six months and we would have been acting afterward with a much higher degree of knowledge about who this bill impacts, how it would impact them, and what the cost would be. Right now much of that is a mystery, and the long debate last night demonstrated that there remain more questions than answers.”
Republicans introduced a number of amendments which were in turn defeated on a partisan basis. One such amendment would have created a task force to study the process and procedure of granting such licenses, and would have allowed it to be implemented at an accelerated timeline after review.
Hoydick said that among the many failings of the legislation is an alarming lack of a mechanism to validate where an individual is originally from, or where they currently reside. It provides an incentive for out-of-state felons to move to Connecticut because there is no attempt to ascertain if there is any criminal record for the applicant outside the boundaries of Connecticut. It also allows unverifiable documents such as emails to suffice as valid forms of proving residence.
There are an estimated 50,000- 250,000 undocumented aliens who might be made eligible for a state driver’s license under this legislation, and as this state would be the only one on the East Coast of the United State to enact such a law, our state would instantly become a magnet for undocumented aliens from across the country seeking to obtain this documentation which would convey legitimacy upon them.
A poll in March of this year conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 65% of state residents opposed giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
The bill passed by a vote of 74-55 and now moves on to the State Senate for action there. This session of the General Assembly concludes at midnight, June 5th.