In a move to “make lives easier,” California has initiated a driver’s license program for immigrants who are in the country illegally. The program went into effect today, and has doubled the number of applications for licenses submitted to the state.
From the AP:

California has begun accepting driver’s license applications from immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Despite near-freezing temperatures, hundreds of immigrants lined up as early as 2 a.m. Friday at a temporary Department of Motor Vehicles office in the city of Stanton to begin the process of obtaining licenses.

The DMV expects 1.4 million people will seek a license in the first three years of a program aimed at boosting road safety and making immigrants’ lives easier.

Some applicants may receive licenses Friday if they previously had one. First-time applicants will receive permits if they pass a written test. They will have to return for a driving test at a later date.

This move reverses previous state policy which required “proof of legal presence” in the state of California before an applicant could successfully obtain a driver’s license. According to the AP report, while illegals will be able to obtain a license to drive, the license will not count as official federal identification. Additionally, applicants are being cautioned to seek legal advice before applying if they are under a pending deportation order or have a criminal record.

Predictably, both sides of the issue are speaking out on the controversial policy:

Immigrant advocates have cheered the licenses as a way to integrate immigrants who must drive to work and shuttle children to school. But critics have questioned state officials’ ability to verify the identity of foreign applicants, citing security concerns.

Law enforcement officials say the program will improve road safety because licensed drivers must be tested and insured. A DMV study of 23 years of crash data found that unlicensed drivers were more likely to cause a fatal collision than licensed drivers.

This debate feels all too familiar, with proponents emphasizing the admittedly profound quality of life and safety improvements, and opponents frantically waving their arms in an attempt to point out the fatal flaw in the plan: how do we know they are who they say they are?!?

This is the argument that must be ignored if the left’s narrative on immigration in the country is to succeed. The practical implications of legitimizing an otherwise illegitimate (administratively, and legally) presence in this country is not insignificant, and it falls in directly with the overall goal of turning a blind eye on illegal immigration. The narrative will only succeed if the vast majority of Americans accept the false premise that the emotional, human element of this battle trumps every other concern—however legitimate—brought up in the debate.

So far, the left appears to be winning this one.