JANUARY 17, 2008
Fearful of legal action from groups like Judicial Watch, lawmakers in different parts of the country have abruptly rescinded support for measures that would have benefited illegal immigrants and violated laws in the process.
This week Maryland’s governor withdrew his costly plan to issue separate driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and legal residents while, across the country in San Antonio Texas, officials blocked their own proposal to open a publicly funded day laborer center to accommodate illegal aliens in search of employment.
The about face by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley actually reversed a long-standing policy that made the state only one of seven to grant official driving privileges to illegal immigrants, even though federal law requires proof of legal status before obtaining a driver’s license.
O’Malley wanted to adopt a two-tier approach in which applicants who could not document their legal presence in the U.S. would only get a special license to drive in Maryland but not a card that would be accepted as identification at airports or in other states. The plan was projected to cost taxpayers between $60 million and $80 million.
In San Antonio, officials basically killed a plan to open a publicly funded day laborer center just as the City Council was on the verge of adopting a measure to create the facility where illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico and Central America, could gather and be hired.
Instead the City Council scrapped the plan indefinitely, apparently fearful of costly legal challenges that would ultimately defeat the measure anyways. Judicial Watch sued the town of Herndon, Virginia, on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, for opening a day laborer center that was eventually shut down by the legal challenge. A similar Judicial Watch lawsuit is still active against Laguna Beach, California, which operates its day laborer center with public money.
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