Polling Shows 74% of Republican Primary Voters in Texas Want to Issue Driver’s Permit to Undocumented Immigrant Drivers Under Strict Conditions
Two years ago the Texas Legislature passed a law that has backfired on the drivers on Texas roadways. The law prohibited the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) from issuing a driver's license to any person who could not prove they were a legal resident of the state of Texas. This law was meant to appease the loud anti-immigrant movement and show that the Legislature was doing something about illegal immigration. Well, they did something alright... They created millions of new uninsured drivers. They also increased the number of hit and run accidents and high speed police chases that endanger the public and our law enforcement officers.
During this session of the legislature, a new bill was introduced to fix the problems created by this law. The bill would have required people who cannot prove their legal status to apply for a driving permit (not a license), pay a fee, provide a ten finger fingerprint card for positive identification, submit to a criminal background check and purchase liability insurance. Prior to the new law, some percentage of these drivers had valid licenses and insurance. Under the new law 100% did not.
Once again, the loud noise of protest came forward from the anti-immigrant crowd and lawlessness reigned supreme once again. The bill was defeated because many Republican legislators would not stand up to this small, but very loud, protest and do the right thing for Texas to improve safety on our roadways. Despite valiant efforts from State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook and Senator Tommy Williams, who joined forces to completely re-write the bill originally introduced by Democrat Rep. Roberto Alonzo, key Republican leaders would not put their name behind the bill to get it passed.
Recently, polls were conducted in several key conservative representative districts and the district of Sen. Williams. The poll contacted only voters who voted in one of the last four Republican Primaries. Some of you will be surprised at the results of the poll. But the poll validates what we have been saying at TexasGOPVote for a very long time. A loud voice from the anti immigrant movement does not reflect the majority opinion of conservative Republican voters.
The polls were conducted this month in the districts of Senator Williams and Representatives Cook, Hilderbran, Craddick, Frullo, Smithee, Geren, Harless, Huberty, and Fletcher. The following question was asked:
Texas has at least two million undocumented immigrants that are driving with no license and no liability insurance! Would you support legislation that requires them to apply for a driver permit, pay a $150 fee, provide finger print and photo ID, pass a criminal background check, and buy liability insurance?
Poll Results: Yes, No, Undecided
SD4 Williams 72%, 17%, 11%
HD8 Cook 74%, 17%, 9%
HD16 Creighton 79%, 16%, 6%
HD53 Hilderbran 73%, 19%, 8%
HD82 Craddick 73%, 16%, 11%
HD84 Frullo 77%, 14%, 9%
HD86 Smithee 77%, 15%, 8%
HD99 Geren 80%, 15%, 5%
HD126 Harless 75%, 16%, 9%
HD127 Huberty 74%, 14%, 11%
HD130 Fletcher 65%, 27%, 9%
AVERAGE: 74%, 17%, 9%
Nearly three out of four voters in heavily conservative Republican districts support issuing a driver's permit to people who cannot prove they are legal residents. Remember, this bill would have no impact on the immigration status of these individuals. It would not be a document that could be used for voter identification or airline travel. It would do nothing other that give us positive identification on millions of those who are undocumented and require them to be responsible drivers. The state of Texas is not responsible for immigration policy. It is, however responsible for public safety, and this bill would improve public safety.
Interestingly, State Rep. Patricia Harless had conducted her own poll during the session and received virtually identical results. She was initially against the bill because of the noise from certain groups. But, after asking her district what they wanted, she found overwhelming support for the bill and came out in support and voted to pass the bill out of the State Affairs Committee. The bill died in Calendars.
I urge the Texas Legislature to look at these polls and re-introduce this bill and take action that is strongly supported by conservative voters across the state of Texas.