America is a land of immigrants, dating back to 1620 when the Mayflower landed on the shores of Plymouth Rock. I am a proud American, and I support and welcome anyone to these shores who wants to reap the wonderful benefits of living in our free nation, regardless of age, race, color, creed or religion. But we have laws to legally immigrate to our country. All I ask is that these people follow our laws and come here legally.
Illegal immigration is a huge problem in our country and in the 13th District. Illegal immigrants take jobs away from Americans, increase health care costs for Americans and put a strain on our school systems and other government infrastructure capabilities. They don't pay income taxes and are literally unaccountable for their actions in our country. Many of our laws literally do not apply for illegals.
I recently spoke with a deputy sheriff in the 13th District about his duties. He told me a story about a radar enforcement operation he ran one evening where he stopped two cars for speeding. The driver of the first car was a young woman. She provided her license and registration and accepted her ticket and obligation to either appear in court on a certain date or pay the fine.
In the second car were two illegal immigrants. When the deputy found out they were illegal, he said he didn't arrest them or even give them a ticket. I asked him why, and he told me it was a directive from his sheriff. The county's jails are already overcrowded, he said, and if he arrested the illegals the Immigration and Naturalization Service wouldn't bother to come to pick them up and deport them, leaving their care to be an unwanted and unnecessary burden on the county's taxpayers. He didn't give them a speeding ticket because the illegals know they don't have to pay the fine or show up for the court date because there is no way to track them and make them comply. The deputy would be wasting valuable time coming to court to do nothing.
Illegal immigrants cannot be held accountable for their actions. I believe this must change, and I will offer three different bills this session to try to begin affecting this change.
1) I plan to introduce a bill requiring anyone seeking a driver's certificate to provide proof of a Social Security number in order to receive the certificate.
A driver's certificate, as opposed to a driver's license, only gives a person the ability to legally drive a car. It has no legal standing and cannot be used for any kind of identification purpose. Requiring a Social Security number will make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to legally drive a car.
I tried to pass this same bill last session and eventually agreed to compromise with Gov. Bredesen for a bill that allowed obtaining the certificate without a Social Security number. At the time it was the right thing to do, but I wish now that I hadn't compromised. There will be no compromise this time.
2) I plan to introduce a bill that will require an individual to provide two forms of identification showing their residency, including a photo ID, before they can obtain auto license tags.
Several county clerks have shown me how attorneys can obtain license tags for as many as eight people at one time if they have power of attorney for those people. I am not sure we can keep attorneys from obtaining the tags if they have the legal right to do so, but I do know we can make it more difficult for these attorneys to get tags for illegal immigrants by making them provide more proof of where their clients live.
The bill is SB2567, and it will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee.
3) I plan to reintroduce my bill to require that all driver's license tests be offered in English only.
Currently the test is offered in four languages, and the state is considering expanding that to seven languages. But in Nashville schools alone there are students who speak 52 different languages. It seems to me their parents would speak the same languages. I believe we need to offer the driver's test either in all 52 languages, so as not to discriminate against any residents, or offer it only in the native language of our country. It will be much less costly to offer the test only in English.
We are a nation of laws, established by the Founding Fathers for everyone to live by. Many of those laws, however, do not apply to illegal immigrants. These three ideas won't solve the problem of illegal immigration, but they will help us get some control over it.