Washington needs to beef up its requirement for identification

This issue has resurfaced in the election and some candidates favor a compromise plan used by Utah. It's a better plan than doing nothing.

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Should proof of legal residency or citizenship be required to obtain a valid driver's license in Washington state?

The answer to the question is obvious in 48 of the 50 states -- yes!

But in Washington state that question has been on the table for years and still can't be answered. State lawmakers have not been able to agree to bring Washington's law in line with the other 48 states. That leaves Washington and New Mexico as the only two states where proof of residency is not required.

As a result, the number of immigrants seeking driver's licenses has surged in Washington and New Mexico over the past five years.

This raises legitimate national security concerns. Terrorists seeking to obtain legitimate ID would look to Washington first. When that ID is checked across the country the assumption would be the holder of that ID was in the country legally.

The upcoming election has brought this issue back in the spotlight as the candidates for governor and attorney general weighed in.

The candidates for attorney general -- Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson -- as well as GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna favor a compromise plan like the one adopted in Utah. Under that system, those who can't prove U.S. residency can obtain a permit that allows them to drive, but that document is not considered valid identification.

Jay Inslee, the Democratic candidate for governor, prefers to leave the system unchanged.

The Utah plan doesn't go far enough. Simply reducing problems isn't enough, the law needs to mandate legal residency.

Yet, given the current Legislature has resisted significant changes to driver's license requirements, the Utah compromise probably has the best chance of approval.

Utah officials have been pleased. The number of people applying for the Driving Privilege Card has steadily climbed since the law was enacted in 2005. For the past few years about 43,000 people applied for the driving card, with about 75 percent having auto insurance. That's not much lower than the insurance rate of 82 percent of Utah residents with a regular license.

With that in mind, Washington should move in the direction of Utah. It's foolish for Washington to continue to leave such a huge security breach on the books.

Comments

Markcycling 1 year, 11 months ago

The editorial board is way off base with this opinion. We should always vote for whatever gives us more freedom and this does not . Washington is already one of the least free and most intrusive states - don't add to it!

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namvet60 1 year, 11 months ago

This editorial is right on - we have more illegals moving into this country by the day without restriction and then to give them free rein is ridiculous. The same for voters ID is essential.

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oneStarman 1 year, 11 months ago

The Real Problem is a National One. The Fact that we do NOT have a Functional Identification system in this country is a National Security problem. There are MILLIONS of people living in this country who are using FAKE Social Security numbers. Everyone has Known about it for a Long Time; but there is an economic Incentive to keep the system as it is. We believe we could not AFFORD to hire LEGAL workers to do much of the 'slave work' in this country. Our FOOD and many of the services that make us feel RICH would become - we feel - prohibitively expensive if we only hired people we could not exploit. What we forget - is that which diminishes ANY among us diminishes and makes less economically secure ALL of US. What we NEED is a coordinated NATIONAL ID system - administered by the states through its existing system - that would provide a VALID Picture ID and a Valid SS Number to EVERYONE living in the US regardless of Immigration Status. We would be able to guarantee that the Identity of EVERYONE was thus Known with the system itself now Functional. It would require that dirty word 'AMNESTY' for those living here ILLEGALLY but would make our country SECURE.

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DeadDawg 1 year, 11 months ago

I am a citizen NOT a number. SS numbers are not tattooed on anyone's left arm YET and they were never intended to ID citizens. Driver's licenses tend to be the ID of choice in the United States when you go to the store or are pulled over by the police!

In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act gave blanket amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. The 1928, (1965), 1994, 1986, 1997, 1989, 2000, provided millions of illegal immigrants rolling and blanket amnesty. These programs did not work. Bush tried another amnesty and his 2007 act was defeated. That 14th amendment is a challenge that needs to be challenged.

The annual million of LEGAL immigrants deserve a licence to drive LEGALLY in Washington State. “Attrition through enforcement” works but people don't want to hurt feelings or be called "racist". My feelings are hurt by illegal immigrant's children receiving social security, my feelings are hurt because I don't get the same courtesy in china or mexico and my feelings are hurt because I can't even buy ocean front property in Mexico because I am 'foreign' (really ticks me off). The 1950's program worked with few enforcement agents. But I will welcome the "Utah plan" because there is no other recourse. Legal status should be required in order to have a licence to drive.

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campbell_rd 1 year, 11 months ago

It is important to note that we seem to be following in New Mexico's footsteps. They are in for a huge awakening and I hope we change the system before it happens to us. The TSA and several other agencies are debating to disallow New Mexico drivers licenses as proof of ID. If proof of citizenship and residency is bypassed then the legal residents will suffer.

Immigration is great and we need it! Provided they follow proper procedures to become a citizen. Which includes entering into the country legally in the first place.

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