On November 9th, 1994, Rev. Duane “Scott” Wilson, his wife and six of their children were traveling in their minivan on a Wisconsin freeway. Suddenly, the taillight assembly of a semi-truck directly in front of them broke off and was subsequently hit. A large piece of metal pierced the gas tank, and the minivan caught fire. All six children were killed in the accident, and the driver, Ricardo Guzman, the illegally licensed driver who had paid a bribe for his CDL truck license, was never charged. Governor George Ryan was imprisoned on federal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, and fraud on September 6th, 2006, for allowing Guzman and others to obtain his illegal truck licenses, in addition to a litany of other crimes (Gibson). This case was profoundly influential in making the case to strengthen U.S. border security.
While Ricardo Guzman was a legal citizen of the United States, he spoke English poorly and was therefore unable to legally obtain a driver’s license. The reason this case is of notable mention for the sake of this argument, of course, is because of one simple fact: Drivers who are denied the ability to obtain driver’s licenses will often get behind the wheel regardless, sometimes incurring terrible consequences. In the case of Ricardo Guzman, it resulted in the deaths of six children. According to an analysis by the New York Times, about 4.5 million illegal aliens in the U.S. drive on a regular basis, many without licenses or insurance, or even the ability to read road signs written in English (Preston). Are we as a nation really willing to allow this type of tragedy to happen again, simply because we don’t agree with the practice of allowing illegal immigrants to gain any type of legitimate status in our society? Surely, there are some citizens who feel that immigration is a human right. If an individual passes a driver’s test, he or she is far more likely to be competent behind the wheel and less likely to cause a major accident or collision. Any argument to the contrary is simply counter-intuitive.
As of this writing, only 10 of our fifty states have laws allowing illegal immigrants to drive (Navarette). Unfortunately, public opinion continues to be against this type of legislation and, equally, unfortunately, until illegal immigrants are granted the right to apply for a driver’s license in every state, those 4 million-plus unlicensed drivers will continue to cause grief, death, and destruction on our roadways.
Gibson, Ray. "Driver admits ignoring warning before crash - chicagotribune.com." Chicago Tribune: Chicago breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic - chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune, 5 Oct. 1999. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-991005license,0,4542639.story
Preston, Julia. "Illegal Immigrants Without Drivers Licenses Risk More Than a Ticket - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times, 9 Dec. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/10license.html?pagewanted=all
Navarette, Ruben. "Opinion: Give undocumented immigrants driver's licenses - CNN.com." CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. CNN, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/17/opinion/navarrette-drivers-license/