P. GARDNER GOLDSMITH | JANUARY 17, 2024
It’s also one that easily could be shot down in any Constitution-recognizing court.
“Senate Bill 358 aims to push back on a law passed in Massachusetts earlier this year that allows undocumented immigrants to drive lawfully in that state, issuing them licenses that don’t show their immigration status.
Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut have also passed similar legislation.”
Indeed, Maine is the only other New England state that has not passed a law allowing driver’s licenses for non-citizens, and the NH legislators behind SB 358 would make violating the statute a Class B Misdemeanor punishable with up to $1,200 in fines, similar to the penalty for trespass or disorderly conduct.
It remains unanswered how police in New Hampshire constitutionally could determine the immigration status of someone they have pulled over for a violation of their myriad traffic statutes, but that is just one of the considerations at play here.
Larger is the long-fought, dynamic battle between “conservatives” and “liberals” when it comes to migrants being added to voter rolls in nearby Massachusetts.
As noted earlier, the NH bill comes as a response to the new move by leftist MA legislators to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. And that likely inspires more than a few people to wonder what proverbial breadcrumbs they can find in Massachusetts history when it comes to what might have been a long-term strategy to add illegal immigrants to the pool of potential voters – something conservatives long have suspected was a leftist goal, given that leftists seem to have believed that migrants would vote for their social-welfare-handout ideology.
And some research yields confirmation.
In 2018, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that allowed the state to place on the voter list people who “registered” for documents at a state motor vehicle office. At the time, and for the next few years, the “registration” was not automatic. People visiting the registry of motor vehicles could decline the “offer” to be placed on the voter rolls.
But in December of 2022, the state legislature passed what proponents called the “VOTES” Act, which removed the “option” to NOT be placed on the voter rolls when a state resident conducted “eligible transactions” at the state Registry of Motor Vehicles. It became, essentially, a “Motor-Voter law.”
“The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing that effective January 1, 2023, the RMV is no longer allowed to offer the option for customers to opt out of automatic voter registration.
The opportunity for driver’s license and ID applicants to decline automatic voter registration is no longer possible in accordance with “The VOTES Act,” a new election reform law which was passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature on June 22, 2022.”
The Massachusetts bureaucracy adds that the visitor will have to wait for his or her town of residence to spend the time and money of sending out a “voter acknowledgment” before he or she then can ask to be removed.
“RMV customers will be allowed to decline voter registration after receiving the acknowledgment notice from their respective municipal election officials.”
Seeing this years-long political chess strategy to give “illegal immigrants” driver’s licenses, which would see them automatically put on the voter rolls, one might understand why conservatives in neighboring New Hampshire might push back with this new bill prohibiting “illegals” from using out-of-state driver’s licenses.
But conservatives who honestly call themselves “constitutionalists” also must acknowledge that the US Constitution will tear down their bill, should it pass.
The Constitution contains in it what is called the Full Faith and Credit clause (in Article Four, Section One), which stipulates that any legal document issued and recognized in one state must be recognized as legal in all states. This is why you can drive in your car or in a rental car beyond the borders of your state. It’s why marriage “licenses” are recognized in every state.
It’s also why gun licenses are supposed to be recognized in every state, despite those state requirements of us to get said “licenses” (i.e. permission slips from government mafias) being patently unconstitutional and immoral in the first place.
As a result, if Massachusetts issues driver’s licenses to anyone, the government of every state must recognize them as legal, making the proposed SB 358 a doomed bill even if it passes, as long as any jurists who hear challenges to the bill employ a strict constitutional scrutiny standard to their judgments.
The quandary of how to handle immigration is divisive enough without the machinations of vote-hungry politicians playing such a powerful role.
And NH SB 358 sheds light on how hard it can be to stop those vote-hungry politicians.
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