Judicial Watch Lawsuit: No Driver's Licenses for Illegal Aliens
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and malfeasance, announced that it filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New York taxpayer in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against New York Governor Eliot Spitzer over a new policy implemented on September 21, 2007 that would have given "all New Yorkers the opportunity to apply for driver’s licenses without regard to immigration status."
And Gov. Spitzer blinked.
Some political observers believe that the Clintons coaxed New York's liberal governor to hold off on his plan to give illegal aliens driver's licenses until after the 2008 presidential election so that Hillary Clinton could save face. During one of the Democrat presidential debates, Sen. Clinton was placed in a position where she flip-flopped when asked about Spitzer's plan to provide illegal aliens with New York State driver's licenses.
Others believe that Gov. Spitzer doesn't want Judicial Watch poking around his office and reviewing documents as part of the discovery process.
According to New York State law, with respect to driver licenses, the DMV Commissioner “shall require that the applicant provide his or her social security number.” Under the new DMV policy, however, applicants will not have to provide a Social Security number to receive a driver’s license. They must only provide a foreign passport and some secondary form of identification, such as a lease or a copy of parole papers.
The lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the New York law firm Borovina and Marullo, on behalf of Suffolk County resident and taxpayer James M. Staudenraus, seeks “equitable and declaratory relief against defendants who in the course of their official duties has caused…a wrongful expenditure, misappropriation, misapplication, and other illegal and unconstitutional disbursement of state funds as well as unlawful conduct in connection with their plan to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented aliens in contravention of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law.”
In addition to Governor Spitzer, the lawsuit named Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner David Swartz and the New York State DMV as defendants.
According to the complaint, “There is no express language anywhere in the VTL [Vehicle and Traffic Law] which dispenses with the requirement that an applicant for a driver’s license provide his or her social security number.” Moreover, Spitzer and the DMV intend to implement the policy without involving the New York State Legislature, and “without complying with the rule-making requirements prescribed by the State Administrative Procedure Act.”
“Eliot Spitzer wants to use his public office to sanction illegal behavior and put all of us at risk through his plan to give driver licenses to illegal aliens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“If Governor Spitzer wants to change the rules, he has to follow the rules -- which means going through the New York State Legislature and otherwise following New York law.”
Republicans have been examining the latest estimates of illegal immigration. Most of the GOP presidential candidates have expressed alarm over the extent of the influx amid polls that showed Republicans lead Democrats on immigration issues.
On Oct. 24, GOP presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani pledged to end illegal immigration within three years through a 50 percent increase in border security agents to 18,000. Giuliani also supported a high-tech fence along the Mexican border, bolstered by federal agents along the border at 50-mile intervals.
"If you do this for two or three years, you'll change behavior," Giuliani said. "If people come to the border and figure they can't get in, they'll stop."
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.