Department of Homeland Security is concerned about a new California
law allowing illegal immigrants to apply for driver's licenses because
border inspectors often depend on licenses to establish U.S. citizenship,
according to press reports.
Gov. Gray Davis' decision to sign the law last week – a move that's
now a major issue in the state's recall election – the Department
of Homeland Security said it would adjust inspector training and
review policies regarding driver's licenses, said Asa Hutchinson,
the agency's undersecretary for border and transportation security.
will place a greater burden and more difficulty on our inspectors
at the border,” Hutchinson said in an interview after a U.S. Senate
hearing on the terrorism threat posed by fraudulent driver's licenses
and other documents.
licenses are often used to establish citizenship when people are
returning to the United States from countries that do not require
a passport to visit, such as Mexico and Canada.
a General Accounting Office report released Sept. 9 showed vulnerability
in the driver's license application process in California and elsewhere,
but the focus was on fraud.
report debuted during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee.
Legislators learned investigators using fictitious names, Social
Security numbers and birth dates, along with counterfeit out-of-state
licenses and other documents, obtained driver's licenses in California,
six other states and the District of Columbia.
Lewis, president and chief executive of the American Association
of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which represents officials who
run state motor-vehicle agencies, told senators that driver's licenses
are “one of the biggest loopholes in the U.S. national security