December 2007

Like a young driver who thinks he’s invincible and dangerously speeds, rookie Gov. Eliot Spitzer was nabbed racing into the immigration debate and had to lay off the pedal after being whipsawed over his driver’s license for illegal immigrants plan.

According to a press release issued by the governor’s office Sept. 21, 2007, which can be found at, the plan’s primary purpose was to provide “safer streets, lower insurance rates and a safer homeland.” The governor then proceeded to stump for and defend his plan by touting the first two elements. An uproar ensued. CNN’s Lou Dobbs, whom I agree with nearly 100 percent on the immigration issue (and I’m especially opposed to amnesty), devoted every night to disparaging the plan. The subject came up in presidential primary debates. People across the country became enraged. Hysteria.

I was initially, vehemently opposed to Spitzer’s plan, but the more I thought about how we as a country are going to determine who’s in our country illegally, I’d begun to see the governor’s plan was, even if he didn’t intend it this way, devious. It was a backdoor way of getting people to admit they’re here illegally. A quid pro quo — we’ll give you a license, but you’ll tell us you’re not supposed to be here. Oh sure, they get a license, but we get a list.

Trouble was, though, Spitzer didn’t market his plan that way — maybe because he couldn’t. After all, how are you going to get undocumented immigrants to willingly provide you with information that proves it, if you’re telling them that’s what you’re trying to do? It’s like those unregistered gun collection programs. No one’s going to turn them in, if you ask for their names. But if the feds (and that’s really who should be addressing this issue) are ever going to resolve this problem, we do need to find out just how much of a problem we have. P

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.