Saturday, August 27, 2011

Licensed undocumented immigrants and uninsured drivers: Necessarily connected?

When undocumented immigrants can obtain driver’s licenses, does the number of uninsured drivers increase? Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses or requiring lawful residency identification has but an “insignificant impact” on the percentage of uninsured drivers in New Mexico, according to a study by New Mexico State University J. Tim Query, an associate professor of finance and business law, who tested the question both ways.

New Mexico, along with Utah and Washington, allows immigrants to apply for a driver’s license without proving their legal residence in the state. But if New Mexico’s Gov. Susanna Martinez has her way, the state will stop issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. In fact, the lawmakers will consider the issue at a special session this fall.
Photo credit: Mali on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Query’s investigation shows that New Mexico ranks second among the 50 states in uninsured drivers, coming in at 25.7 percent. Washington grabs 11th place at 16.1 percent. But, only seven states have a lower percentage of uninsured motorists than does Utah. Even with its estimated 8.2 percent rate of uninsured drivers, Utah comes in well below the national average of 13.8 percent.

Query found that “states with loose requirements for a state-issued driver’s license did not have uniformly lower percentages of uninsured motorists,” according to a post in the Grassroots Press.

For example, according to Insurance Research Council’s (IRC) figures, Arizona saw its uninsured motorists rate drop from 17.8 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2009– a full year before its tough immigration law went into effect. Meanwhile, California’s uninsured drivers rate fell from 18.1 percent in 2007 to 15 percent in 2009. The IRC provided no reason for the drop in both states.

However, Query discovered that two factors that did increase the uninsured driver rate: the actual number of undocumented immigrants and unemployment. And he points to other studies that find the uninsured driver rate drops
  • when mandatory insurance laws are enforced more strictly and 
  • when poverty rates are lower. 
“While the fraction of unauthorized immigrants matters, the lawful residency requirement has a negligible impact on the percentage on uninsured motorists, based on the results of our study,” Querty said.

For more information: NMSU study looks at link between driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and uninsured motorists


Sherry Peyton said...

Thanks for this timely information Billie. I haven't been reading about Governor Martinez that much, which suggests that she has not tried to step quite so far into the right as many other GOP governors. It bears much watching however.

Billie Greenwood said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Sherry. I always appreciate your poitical analysis because you have a good grasp on the connections. I hope you're still feeling some vested interest in New Mexican politics.

Vicente Duque said...

VIDEO, Phoenix New Times, Sorry, John McCain, Wallow Fire Suspects U.S. Citizens Confirmed - Watch VIDEO John McCain saying "there is substantial evidence that some of these fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally"

John McCain blamed the biggest forest fire in Arizona History on illegal immigrants - he then offered absolutely no evidence to backup his claim that brown people were guilty. The suspects in custody are as American as Apple Pie.

This is a Historic Blunder of John McCain !!

Phoenix New Times
Down on Brown
Sorry, John McCain, Wallow Fire Suspects U.S. Citizens. Confirmed
By James King Thu
Aug. 25, 2011

Some excerpts :

Remember earlier this year when Arizona Senator John McCain said "there is substantial evidence that some of these fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally.

"They have set fires because they signal others, they have set fires to keep warm, and they have set fires in order to divert law enforcement agents and agencies from them," McCain said. "The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border."

That's right, seemingly referring to the Wallow fire John McCain blamed a forest fire on illegal immigrants -- and he's not even running for office.

Following McCain's comment, remember when he then offered absolutely no evidence to backup his claim that illegal immigrants were to blame for the largest wildfire in Arizona history?

That happened, and there's a reason: illegal immigrants didn't start the fire -- a couple of white guys named Caleb and David Malboeuf, cousins, are suspected of starting the blaze.

The Department of Justice confirms to New Times that both Malboeufs are U.S. citizens -- they live in the Flagstaff area.

Just for kicks, below you can watch McCain put on his serious face and blame illegal immigrants for a forest fire:

Billie Greenwood said...

Vincente, he ought to make a public retraction and apology. I'm waiting.

Vicente Duque said...

Thanks for your Answer Billie !


According to the Supreme Court Racial Profiling is legal : In United States v. Brignoni-Ponce 1975, the high court ruled that the “likelihood that any given person of Mexican ancestry is an alien is high enough to make Mexican appearance a relevant factor ( to stop cars near the border )

But this is not in line with current constitutional understanding ( of Law Professors, Universities, many judges, etc ... )

Washington Post
Profiling's enabler: High court ruling underpins Arizona immigration law
July 13, 2010

By Gabriel J. Chin and Kevin R. Johnson
Gabriel J. Chin is a professor at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law. Kevin R. Johnson is dean and a professor of public interest law and Chicana/o studies at the University of California Davis School of Law.

Some excerpts :

Supporters and opponents of S.B. 1070 assume that racial profiling is unconstitutional, largely because many Americans believe that it ought to be. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved the racial profiling permitted -- indeed encouraged -- by S.B. 1070.

In a 1975 case regarding the Border Patrol's power to stop vehicles near the U.S.-Mexico border and question the occupants about their citizenship and immigration status, United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, the high court ruled that the "likelihood that any given person of Mexican ancestry is an alien is high enough to make Mexican appearance a relevant factor." In 1982 the Arizona Supreme Court agreed, ruling in State v. Graciano that "enforcement of immigration laws often involves a relevant consideration of ethnic factors."

Arizona's immigration law states that a "law enforcement official or agency . . . may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona constitution." Although supporters of the law, including Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and other state officials, have said repeatedly that racial profiling is prohibited in its enforcement and that those charged with carrying out the law will be trained to avoid it, the fact that the legislature included this careful exception is significant.

Lawmakers took care to embrace the reliance on race permitted by cases such as Brignoni-Ponce. This choice deserves acknowledgment and discussion, just like that received by the rest of the law.

Brignoni-Ponce has resulted in immigration enforcement that many contend is race-based and in violation of the U.S. Constitution. In case after case, in states including Florida, Iowa and New York, defendants arguing that Border Patrol stops constituted unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment have encountered claims by the U.S. government -- including the current administration -- that "Mexican" or "Hispanic" appearance, along with other factors, justified an immigration stop. Border enforcement officers regularly admit in court that "Hispanic appearance" is one reason for an immigration stop.