Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If Not An Outright Switch Edwards' Position Confusing On Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards tells the western Iowa Spanish-language newspaper La Prensa that he's consistent on the issue of whether illegal immigrants should be able to obtain drivers' licenses.

In the wake of Edwards' somewhat confusing answer on ABC's "This Week," La Prensa questioned Edwards on whether he had changed his mind on the controversial matter, moving from a seeming supporter to a critic of a licensing program like the one proposed by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

"I haven't changed my mind," Edwards told La Prensa in Carroll. "I've always thought that we want anyone driving on the road in the United States to have the training, the education, the licensing."

Edwards said immigrants on the path to citizenship should be able to get drivers' licenses.

But if immigrants aren't involved in a legal process toward citizenship states shouldn't give them drivers' licenses, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina said.

"If they choose not to, then they shouldn't," Edwards said.

Edwards also told La Prensa the issue is one for states, not the president, to determine. In 2004, as a vice presidential candidate he supported drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants based largely on road safety concerns.

Here is the exchange between Edwards and ABC's George Stephanopoulos:

Mr. Stephanopoulos: “Do you believe illegal immigrants should be denied driver’s licenses?”

Mr. Edwards: “Well, I think, first of all, that’s for states to decide, not for the President of the United States to decide. But beyond that –“

Mr. Stephanopoulos: “So the 40 states that deny illegal immigrants driver’s licenses that’s okay with you?”

Mr. Edwards: “Let me finish. I think that is their decision to make, not the president’s decision. But here’s what I believe. I believe that, first of all, we have to have comprehensive immigration reform. And for anybody in this country who is making an effort and on the path to obtaining American citizenship, yes, they should have a driver’s license. If they’re not making any effort to become an American citizen, and we have a system for doing that, my own personal view is, no, I would not give them a driver’s license.”

This post originally appeared at Iowa Independent.com.

No comments: