As reported in the Denver Post, Colorado’s Department of Motor Vehicles is cutting back its program, “The Colorado Road and Community Safety Act” passed last year and set up to provide licenses to illegals in the state in an effort to make roads safer by having more drivers insured and licensed. A reasonable question to ask is why should one expect someone who has violated immigration laws, either entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa, to suddenly become a responsible driver because they have a license? Maybe some who flee scenes of accidents will now remain to give their personal details to a police officer. Maybe many won’t.

So the GOP controlled state senate took the practical step of denying funding for the CRCSA, a program they have opposed from its inception. That means that illegals must now head to the Denver central DMV office to book an appointment for a license, or to renew the one they have obtained. That’s down from 5 offices in the first 6 months or so of the program and far less than the large increase Hispanic activists were calling for. The new waiting lists are long, years maybe, and that means a driver’s license in Colorado is now much harder to obtain for those living illegally in Colorado. Rather than engage in heated debates about top-down overarching immigration policy on a national level, the Republican Senators in Colorado cut off the money. Simple and perhaps very effective. Perhaps because politicians do change their minds and it remains to be seen how constant they are in upholding their stance, and because the evidence of how effective this will prove remains to be seen.

Illegal immigration is both a push and a pull phenomena: Poverty and violence push illegals towards the USA while job opportunities and a lack of punitive measures – like summary deportations – pull them north from Mexico and Central America primarily. Some like Damien Cave back in 2011, and Linda Chavez more recently, claim that the balance has shifted and that the USA is a far less attractive economy for illegals while Mexico, despite the horrifying violence related to the drug cartels, is booming. This has meant that illegals coming across the border has slowed from about 500,000 per year to around 100,000 a year. That’s ignoring the flood of children from Central America in the last couple of years of course. For Chavez, the issue of illegal immigration is over and we should move briskly to a comprehensive reform package. Aside from the fact that 100,000 illegals (in the last year or so) is still a large number, and the fact that anywhere from around 12 to up to 20 million illegals remain, what Chavez and Damien do not focus on is the fact that illegals realize there is now a great deal of anger and that tougher enforcement policies may finally be on the way, despite Obama’s amnesty. When making a decision on whether to run the border, induced by smuggling gangs and direct contact with relatives already in the USA, actions like the cutting of funding of the Colorado drivers license program makes them think twice. And might induce some of those already in the country to think about leaving. That means that specific steps by local and state governments to ensure compliance with the laws on the books – nothing more than compliance – is perhaps the best way to start winning battles over illegal immigration. It will be interesting to see what the evidence suggests in Colorado over the coming months and years. It’s a fairly straightforward concept the senate in the Rocky Mountain State have alluded to through their action: let the money go to those who are here legally and not those who are here illegally. Is that so hard to understand?

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