Friday, October 10, 2008

Texas Security Theater

I don't know how many folks who read my blog also read my wife's, but her rant on the new driver's license rules in Texas is something I whole-heartedly agree with.

7 comments:

Chris Hunter said...

So you don't think that we should at least deter this type of behavior and work even more to protect our borders?

By making these cards more difficult to reproduce, it helps to prevent illegal immigration, does it not?

What are your thoughts exactly on illegal immigration, Randy?

Randy said...

My feelings on illegal immigration aren't really the point here. The point (which you've either missed or decided not to acknowledge) is that regardless of your feelings on illegal or legal immigration, the notion that giving legal immigrants a different driver's license as some kind of security measure is fucking retarded.

Making the cards more difficult to reproduce increases the cost of making the legitimate cards, but in no way does it make it harder for those who are reproducing them. C'mon... this isn't special holograms or inks or whatever, it's a slight change in the layout of the driver's licenses.

It's kind of like having us take off our shoes to make sure we don't have bombs in them. It's security theater to make us feel safe, rather than actually doing the hard work to make us safer.

And the worst part of security theater is that it's usually demeaning to the participants. These are *legal* immigrants... they should be treated as "other" so that the scary illegal immigrants theoretically have a slightly harder time getting into the country to take all the jobs we don't want in the first place?

Chris Hunter said...

Randy, I don't have any problem with immigrants that are only supposed to be in the US to be required to prove so and that's all I really see this article talking about.

It could be a lot more complicated than a different looking driver's license card, though.

If your time is up, either get it renewed, or it's time for you to go.

They're not wearing a scarlet letter. It's not really a big deal for them to have a different looking driver's license.

Really, it sounds like your governor is trying to do his job and protect the states population from this statement: "Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday praised the new guidelines, saying, "We must ensure that this privilege is not abused by those seeking to enter our country illegally. The safety of Texans remains a paramount concern of my administration, and these new guidelines will provide additional security."

And it's not just about the card, from what I gather. The immigrant needs to verify their current status to be able to get or renew the card. What would you have them do? Renew or give cards to people that aren't supposed to be in the country?

What are your alternatives to addressing the problems? I'm curious to know.

Randy said...

See, we're clearly reading different things from this article. Part of it is that I know Governor Rick Perry is a tool who has been bad for Texas, I suppose, so if he's supporting it, that's probably not a good indicator for it.

But you see the Perry quote, and I see this:

"I can't tell you how many times people have said, 'It's better not to get mixed up with this because I'm going to have problems with immigration if I do,' " he said. "It shows government hostility toward them."

That's my problem with it. This is not going to make things any more secure, it's simply a way to put more bureaucratic hassles in front of legal immigrants who want to get their driver's license. You know what illegal immigrants are going to do? Drive without a license. Or get a forgery. Any 18 year old can get one to get into a bar, you're telling me someone who needs it to stay in-country can't manage it?

Oh, and you say this: "They're not wearing a scarlet letter. It's not really a big deal for them to have a different looking driver's license."

I would respond "It's not really a big deal for them to have the same looking driver's license." Prove to me that it's necessary to make a change first.

What are your alternatives to addressing the problems? I'm curious to know.

I'm honestly more concerned with fixing our healthcare system, international relations and total economic FUBAR before worrying about whether or not folks are crossing over from Mexico to work in kitchens and hotels at jobs most citizens don't want.

And again... you're turning this into a discussion on immigration and liberal/conservative viewpoints, which is a wider scope than what I've got to offer here. I'm saying that this specific fix is a ridiculous waste of time and money whose main purpose is to make *legal* immigrants feel unwelcome and unequal, and that's despicable.

Chris Hunter said...

Well, I can't argue with your disdain of your governor and what he says or does, so I'm out! ;)

But you seem to object to all of this from a very personal perspective. Is there someone that you know that will be strongly affected by this?

Alan J. Porter said...

What I find interesting in all these debates is that very rarely does the media, or politicians for that matter, cover things from the side of the LEGAL immigrant. These discussions are always played off as US citizens "vs" illegal immigrants.

So as a LEGAL immigrant (and now US citizen) I am totally confused by this new requirement.

As a legal (OK I'll stop with the caps) immigrant I carried ID for many years that showed my status. First off it was a work permit, then followed by my Green Card. And I used my Green Card to do all those things mentioned in the proposal - like open bank accounts, get on planes - and oh yeah - get my driver's license. I carried that card in my wallet right next to my license.

My point is that you don't need to change the license to show you are a legal immigrant - because if you follow the rules - you will have that proof with you anyway.

The thing is, the day I got my citizenship the INS took my Green Card away. Driving home that day I suddenly realized that I no longer have anything I can easily carry with me to prove that despite the funny accent, I am in fact a US citizen.

Sure I have my naturalization certificate, and I now have my US passport - but they are not things I can keep in my wallet if anyone in authority (say airport security) decides to question my status.

Randy said...

But you seem to object to all of this from a very personal perspective. Is there someone that you know that will be strongly affected by this?

Nope. That's kind of a ridiculous standard, isn't it?

I take this personally because this kind of thing being done by government is them speaking for me. By doing this, Rick Perry says "Texans are suspicious of immigrants, legal or illegal." And I'm a Texan, who happens to think that's a bullshit sentiment.

My point is that you don't need to change the license to show you are a legal immigrant - because if you follow the rules - you will have that proof with you anyway.

*Exactly*. This is a pointless change whose only purpose is to shore up support with the anti-immigration folks and intimidate the many legal immigrants who contribute every day to American culture.