Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Brunswick News. February 20, 2024.

Editorial: Offering licenses to noncitizens is a bad move

A state senator feels illegal aliens ought to have the same driving privileges in Georgia as everyone else and has introduced legislation in the General Assembly to make it the law in all 159 counties.

A Senate that has Georgia’s welfare in mind will reject the measure outright.

Accommodating people who are not supposed to even be here would send the wrong message to the men and women who crossed the nation’s southern border illegally. The state needs to do everything in its power to encourage these people to return to the border and apply to be admitted into the United States the proper way.

The sponsor of Senate Bill 478, Sen. Nabilah Islam Parkes, D-Duluth, makes no bones about why she wants the bill. With a valid driver’s license, immigrants here illegally would have greater access to government-issued identification. It would aid them in casting anchor in the state by establishing themselves socially and economically.

Sen. Islam Parks summed up the goal of her measure, legislation that is being dubbed the Freedom to Drive Act, in this statement: “This bill represents a critical step towards ensuring that all residents of Georgia, regardless of their immigration status, have access to essential services and rights.”

The bill would open the door to any illegal alien wanting a driver’s license. It would be valid for eight years and renewable. Applicants would be required to prove residency in Georgia and submit a reason they need a license to drive.

When ranking states whose overall populations reflected the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Georgia ranked No. 11 in the summer of 2023. The 426,500 undocumented immigrants made up 3.8% of the state’s total population. That is according to the latest census and immigration figures compiled by the Federation for American Immigration Reform in 2021 and the Migration Policy Institute in 2019.

While the state might be rolling in funds, the same can’t be said of every county. A lot of smaller communities that lack resources are still dependent on federal dollars Washington obtained by dragging the nation deeper into debt. These and other communities are already having a dickens of a time dealing with homeless individuals and families. They can do well without a driving policy that would draw more noncitizens to their jurisdiction.

And affordable housing? The government will get back to you on that.