Jeb Bush and Illegal Immigrants


Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) has sensibly signed on to giving illegal immigrants driver's licenses in the Sunshine State, thus setting the stage for an East Coast-West Coast Republican war over the issue:

Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed a bill to allow illegal immigrants to get driver licenses, saying they are in the state anyway and officials should accept that fact.

The bill he is backing has enough safeguards that it would ensure terrorists are not getting licenses, Bush said Monday.

"We shouldn't allow them to come into the country to begin with, but once they're here, what do you do? Do you basically say that they're lepers to society? That they don't exist?" he asked. "A policy that ignores them is a policy of denial."

The issue comes up just four months after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fellow Republican, fulfilled a major campaign promise by repealing a law that would have allowed an estimated 2 million illegal immigrant drivers there to begin applying for licenses.

Whole thing here.

An interesting sidelight to all this: Isn't it clear that driver's licenses function mostly as a form of identification and not as certification that someone knows how to drive? I mean, no parent--or insurance company, for that matter--is going to let their kids drive without knowing what they're doing. But teaching that sort of skill hardly requires the state to devise and administer tests on people; it's clearly something that could and would be handled completely within the private sector.