Sunday, October 26, 2014

Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants: Hit-and-Run, Insurance Rates, and Implementation

This morning, I was reading about another tragic hit-and-run in the LA Times:

Last month, as Ortiz was leaving her ex-husband's home in Highland Park, she stepped off the curb and was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Her family was left with few clues, but they are determined to find the driver.

"We want him to know what he did, what he took from us," Valenzuela said. "We want him to turn himself in."

Painful to read. One of the sadder elements in this account? Ms. Ortiz had just been naturalized. She was a legal resident for barely one month, before getting killed.

These egregious crimes are getting more attention, one lady shared with me this morning.

Is the mainstream media desperate for a tear-jerker story to get people reading their declining newspaper?

Actually, USA Today reports that hit-and-run is getting worse in this country:

Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes is trending upward, from 1,274 in 2009, to 1,393 in 2010, to 1,449 in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available.

Perhaps more significantly, the 13.7% increase in hit-and-run deaths over that three-year period occurred while traffic deaths overall were falling 4.5%, from 33,883 in 2009 to 32,367 in 2011.

Even though traffic deaths in general are declining, hit-and-run has increased. Wow!

LA Weekly also wrote about this epidemic in 2012, with 4000 deaths and 48% of crashes:

[A] hit-and-run crime wave that has marched on for years while mayors, chiefs of police and other city leaders ignore it or remain ignorant of it.

There is no LAPD task force or organized city effort to address the problem, yet the numbers are mind-boggling. About 20,000 hit-and-run crashes, from fender benders to multiple fatalities, are recorded by the Los Angeles Police Department each year.

In 2012, CBS Los Angeles reported that this crime is a four-to-one epidemic in Los Angeles:

The number of hit-and-run accidents in Los Angeles is four times higher than the national average, with one in five fatal crashes involving an unlicensed driver, according to a new report.

Supporters of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants (DLI) claim that this reform will diminish hit-and-run deaths and the costs of auto insurance.

The police even encourage illegal immigrants to drive, as long as they have insurance, but how can they buy insurance if they do not have a drivers license?:

“You’ve got a very high concentrated population of illegal aliens in Los Angeles; they drive,” he said. “Matter of fact, the police chief actually encourages them to drive as long as they buy insurance.”

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told a group of Los Angeles Times reporters in February that the state of California should issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants to help reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents.

Have illegal immigrants purchased insurance, though, or even obtained the drivers licenses since the law was passed? The rollout is taking place right now in California and Colorado, and must be fully implemented by 2015.

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There is little evidence which can suggest whether illegal immigrants are buying more insurance or not, since it's hard to follow the status of individuals when they do not have to report their status.

Here is a list of states (and DC), which have enacted DLI. What about insurance rates in Washington state, where DLI was passed in 1993, or New Mexico, which passed the law in 2003?

According to a 2010 table from (which was analyzing the difference between men and women's policies), average auto insurance rates where more expensive in those two states compared to other forty-eight.


New Mexico$735$7907.1%34

Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association reported that rates increased slightly in these two states (as they did for many states):

New Mexico$69132$70430$71326


The ranking indicates how expensive the state's insurance is compared to the other states. The smaller the number, the more expensive the insurance. Washington is not the most populous nation in the country, yet with auto insurance rates that are higher than thirty-five other states, perhaps DLi has not made insurance cheaper, which would suggest that illegal immigrants are not buying insurance.

What other concerns are rising from DLI?

According to Breitbart, the clamoring from illegal immigrants thought, suggests that the process will actually be difficult, and this measure is only making the immigration problem worse:

At the hearing, which took place at the Caltrans auditorium, farm workers, claiming that the new law will give them the ability to follow crops from one part of the state to another, argued for easier and less complicated driving tests. Additionally, they lobbied for less stringent documentation to prove they live in California. One construction worker who came to California from Honduras spoke at the hearing, saying the law will change his life: "We'll be able to drive to get to work, drive our kids to school,  and if there's an emergency, get to the hospital.”

Assembly candidate David Hadley supporters drivers licenses for illegals because of public safety, yet at the same time charges that these licenses cannot become a backdoor for amnesty. However, even the right-wing newssite Breitbart publishes that a drivers licenses practically grants a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi supported drivers licenses for illegal immigrants because Charlie Beck thought it was a good idea. Both California Governor Jerry Brown and gubernatorial challenger Neel Kashkari think DLI is a worthy policy.

When the political class in both parties defends this proposal, where do voters seek leadership and trust for safer roads?

So far, the idea has not taken off in California, and has done very well in other states which already have the policy.

What about Colorado? CBS 4 reported that 524 illegal immigrants received licenses designed for legal residents only. Fraud is already taking place, and inadvertently perpetrated by the state DMV. Colorado did not adequately prepare for the unprecedented number of applicants seeking licenses. Just looking at the large number of illegal immigrants in the photos, one has to wonder when the Department of Homeland Security will fall in and deport these individuals. The brazen affront to the rule of law in this country is disturbing.

As for the hit-and-run epidemic, it has not gotten better in Los Angeles at all, but worse. Does the rollout of DLI contribute to this problem? The reports, anecdotes, and statistics suggest that it does.

Illegal immigrants are demanding "less stringent documentation"? They live in the state illegally, yet the want to complain about the laws? They believe that the burden from proving residency is too great? Once again, the threats of fraud and human trafficking, along with other crimes, only grows rather than decreases with DLI.

Perhaps it's time to expire DLI

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