Barack Obama supports driver's licenses for illegal aliens, misleads about incentives

On this video from tonight's CNN Democratic debate ( via this), Barack Obama does a partial Hillary Clinton on driver's licenses for illegal aliens, before unequivocally supporting them (followed only by, "but, I am going to be fighting for comprehensive immigration reform"; the "but" part generated peals of laughter from the audience).

In addition to his chances being damaged by the fumbling, it would be nice if the other statements he made were damaging as well:

...the problem we have here is not driver's licenses. Undocumented workers don't come here to drive... they're not coming here to go to the In-N-Out Burger [1]... that's not the reason they're here, they're here to work. And, so, instead of being distracted by what has now become a wedge issue, let's focus on actually solving the problem that this administration, the Bush administration, has done nothing about...

There are at least five - yes, five - things wrong with that statement that I, had I been moderating, would have called Obama on:

1. First and most minor, they're illegal aliens, not "undocumented workers".

2. Isn't Obama actually welcoming the current situation? Doesn't he actually want those illegal aliens to remain here, and does he actually consider it that important an issue that millions of foreign citizens have come here illegally? Isn't he an apologist for the current situation?

3. The Bush administration hasn't just "done nothing about" illegal immigration, they've actively encouraged, enabled, and promoted it. And, the Democrats have done the same. Perhaps Obama would like to enumerate all the steps that Democratic Party leaders took to try to prevent the current situation from developing (here's an eighth-page of paper where he can write it down).

4. Just because they aren't coming here for driver's licenses and other goodies doesn't mean that those don't play a part. If, for instance, people in foreign lands knew that they wouldn't be able to work here, get welfare benefits, get educations, get driver's licenses or even get library cards, very few would try to come here. The more incentives are offered to illegal aliens, the greater their ability to live here. So, while driver's licenses might not be the main draw, they do play a role in increasing illegal immigration, at least to those states that offer them. Obama is being intellectually dishonest (assuming he can even figure that out in the first place).

5. The solution to the problem offered by Obama will only make the situation worse through things such as discouraging respect for our laws, encouraging even more illegal immigration, giving even more political power to racial demagogues and to foreign governments, and so on.

It's good that Wolf Blitzer's questions resulted in Barack Obama being derided, but it would have been even better if he had helped end his political career by pointing out how misleading he is.

UPDATE: See also Campbell Brown/CNN asks simplistic question, gets stock Barack Obama answer (benefits for illegal aliens).

[1] In-N-Outs are only in CA/AZ/NV; Obama's doing a shout-out and in Texas he would have said "Whataburger" (sadly there are none of those in CA).


In N Out is superior in every way to whataburger. Complaining about a lack of access to a whataburger is like Donald Trump lamenting that he is not able to live in Section 8 housing.

The ironic thing about his reference to In-n-Out is that it's one of the few fast food franchises I frequent that isn't staffed by invaders. In my area at least. Strange how some places can find Americans to do the jobs Americans supposedly won't do. Hey Obama, if they don't come here to drive, then they don't need no steekin licenses, do they?

_Hey Obama, if they don't come here to drive, then they don't need no steekin licenses, do they?_ Good one Tanstaafl. The problem with Obama on this is that he is non-white, and so he has trouble completely disassociating himself from the "undocumented" take on the issue, since the vast majority of illegals are also non-white -- there is definitely a race/ethnicity aspect to the problem, despite the way some people like to downplay this. The same is true for Schwarzenegger, although for a different reason: he's an immigrant himself.

I like In-N-Out, especially "animal style", but WHATABURGER RULES!

Giving the privilege of driving does in fact make the government complicit in the act of unlawful presence by aiding and abetting illegal immigration. The real reason the advocacy groups want illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses is to preclude them from being arrested for driving without them, an act likely to lead to deportation, depending upon local government's policies.

What is the difference between "illegal aliens" and "undocumented workers"? When you or the Lou Dobbs use "illegal aliens" you attack a complete race, ethnicity and everything else that is not located in the USA-which is only 2% of earth. The most amazing and striking thing related to this issues is how corporate giants which only compose of 1% of the US population force you to support them using fear and hate resulting in economical self affliction. I'm in the US Navy and deploying in two weeks to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and it is a shame how people like you feels happy by demeaning others. Based on the population percentage, there are more Latinos and African Americans serving in the military than in the American population. Where is the love? I leave you with a quote from Mark Twain: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. - Innocents Abroad

'When you or the Lou Dobbs use "illegal aliens" you attack a complete race, ethnicity...' How's that? The phrase is racially and ethnically neutral.

I apologize Amanda. When the Lou Dobbs use "illegal aliens" not only they attack a complete race, ethnicity - they attack the non-American human race. Think about the word "alien" and it reminds everyone of green science fiction characters who don't speak an understandable language and worthless lives. Think about the word "illegal." Now are there people illegal. They are just hard working people without proper documents. I recognize there are many people who try to destroy others like terrorist and drug traffickers should be punished to the worst extend of the law. Remember that 57% are Mexican dependents and 24% are non-Mexican Latin Americans (totaling to 81% Latinos) and a great majority of them entered the U.S. legally but stayed for years due to the shameful delays of receiving residency. Source: