Rancor Over Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Lingers

As if the proposed legislation allowing undocumented state residents to obtain drivers licenses wasn’t controversial enough, the fact that it was passed by the state House of Representatives at the crack of dawn one morning last week made it worse. Republicans objected to both the timing of the vote in the House and the bill itself and leveled charges of undue influence by Democratic Party leaders.

The House approved the measure last Thursday, 74-55. On major objection the opposition had was the debate on the bill started at about 10 p.m. Wednesday and was approved just before 6 a.m. Thursday.

State GOP Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. took Democrats to task for the break-of-dawn vote. “Connecticut’s one-party Democrat state government has struck again—this time a pre-dawn strike—with the House Democrats [Wednesday] night and early [Thursday] morning steamrolling a bill that will give drivers licenses to undocumented aliens,” Labriola said. “The Democrats could have taken this bill up anytime, but they decided to pass it out of the public eye in the wee hours of the morning, with no advance notice.”

House Minority Leader Larry Cafero oddly claimed the vote was called at the behest of Democratic state Party Chair Nancy DiNardo and Executive Director Jonathan Harris. Harris dismissed that claim out of hand. “With both chambers in session and everyone in one place, we were at the Capitol…talking to friends including some Republicans and somehow, with no other facts, [Cafero] connected this to [the drivers license bill],” Harris said. “Representative Cafero tried to morph a legitimate policy debate, where reasonable people can disagree into a fantasy land.”

Ironically, it was Cafero who surprised some at the Capitol when less than a month ago he said he would be open to the bill itself.

Labriola, meanwhile, has serious concerns about the bill. “Do Democrats in Connecticut place any value on citizenship? While feigning a public safety motive, this Democrat vote was purely political—based on demographics. These kinds of licenses have been used in other states to commit voter fraud and could be used in Connecticut to commit voter fraud,” Labriola said. “The bill not only disregards the will of the people, it flies in the face of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have come to Connecticut legally.”

The bill now moves to the state Senate.