Driver’s Licenses for All Florida Drivers

Resolution #1: Driver’s Licenses for all Florida Drivers
Workbook Page: 206

What it does:

  1. Exhorts all Florida United Methodists to join in the work of making it possible for all undocumented immigrants/refugees to obtain a Florida Driver’s License.
  2. Exhorts all Florida United Methodists to join in the work of make driving in Florida safer.
  3. Exhorts all Florida United Methodists to join in the work of removing barriers to immigration into the united States. (“to advocate for this and all changes [emphasis added] that will welcome immigrants”)
  4. Names the Florida Annual Conference as a “supporter” of the Florida Immigrant Coalition‘s “Drive Safe Sunshine State” campaign.

 

Voters for the resolution likely feel that justice is best accomplished when we take responsibility for each other, empowering those who feel powerless, and believe that welcoming and making space for strangers is worth the risk.

Voters against the resolution likely feel that justice is best accomplished when we take responsibility for ourselves, earning influence through our own efforts, and encouraging people to make their own country better rather than abandoning it to go somewhere else.

Conclusion:

The most common objections this resolution might face include:

  • Undocumented immigrants are breaking the law, and should be punished instead of being given additional rights.
  • Debate over whether driving is a human/civil right.
  • Would undocumented immigrants be afraid to begin the driver’s license process for fear of getting into the system and possibly alerting authorities to their status.
  • Will this become an enticement leading to increased illegal immigration?
  • Questions about what the language in line 2, pg. 207 means. (“to advocate for this and all changes [emphasis added] that will welcome immigrants”)

This resolution will not rise or fall on statistics about driver safety.  The heart of this resolution is to extend a hand of welcome to people who feel afraid and unwelcome, and thus its heart is good.  There is a good chance that many undocumented immigrants will not risk exposing themselves by applying for a license, but giving them the option is at least a statement of good will and friendship toward an anxious population hiding among us.

Those supporting the resolution obviously hope for far more than just driver’s licenses for these hidden immigrants–desiring that they could someday step into the light without fear.

This desire is seen by opponents as naïve, ignoring safety concerns over terrorists possibly finding their way onto American soil as immigrants/refugees, and ignoring the effect that increased immigration has on the U.S. healthcare system, education system, and unemployment rate.

Its supporters have faith that showing love, though risky–even scary–will ultimately succeed in reducing the number of wars and enemies that exist in our world far more effectively than maintaining a protective and isolationist posture; and that cooperation, creativity, and teamwork will solve our healthcare, education, and economic problems more effectively than tightening our borders.

In all honesty, it will probably not lead to a dramatic increase in driver safety, though it is a move in a good direction in that regard.  Most importantly, it provides a means for the church of Jesus Christ to speak words of hope and peace to people full of fear and anxiety.  It isn’t a request for open borders, or an abandonment of screening and other efforts to make terrorism as difficult as possible.  It increases the odds that undocumented immigrants, who are probably driving anyway, will count it a privilege to study that Driver’s Ed. manual you ignored that whole semester in high school until week before your test.  Therefore, REC endorses the resolution.