Sunday, February 26, 2006

Curbing auto tag theft

There are some really desperate (and despicable) people out there.

Last night, someone stole Bocona's license tag from her car.

Now, irritating as this was, it took her a little while to calm down from the personal violation she felt (any victim of theft probably feels the same way). Then we started speculating why the perp did it.

As any TV viewer would tell you, the perp probably wanted to disguise his/her involvement in a felony... right?

Well, probably not. It isn't like we have a lot of that kind of behavior going on around here, and putting a stolen tag on your car isn't going to make you stand out that much less as you get away from that bank robbery.

No, the more likely reason, in our minds, is that some undocumented alien wanted to drive a car.

It's like this. Being undocumented, the alien didn't have a U.S.-issued driver's license. Without a license, he/she could not buy insurance. Without insurance, he/she cannot register the car or get a tag for it. Without a tag, he/she runs a bigger chance of being apprehended and deported.

So, the perp steals a tag (and wouldn't it be funny if the tag that was stolen was one that someone else had already stolen?) to put on his/her unregistered car, expecting no LEO will run the tag if he/she obeys traffic laws... and that's probably the case.

Meanwhile, Bocona can't drive her car until the tag office issues her a replacement (on Monday, hopefully).

Bocona feels we can solve this problem by removing our use of the driver's license as a form of identification. In other words, had the undocumented alien been able to buy insurance and register a car, our tag theft problem would drop dramatically. While we're at it, by allowing undocumented aliens to get driver's licenses, we can probably reduce a number of traffic-related incidents.

I disagree. Allowing the undocumented to obtain licenses, insurance, and register vehicles only makes them a little more documented, which is something they don't seem capable of doing, or they'd do it already. A driver's license is supposed to prove the bearer's ability to drive according to the issuing state's laws. There has to be an identifying component to that. Likewise, it's hard to issue proper insurance to a pseudonym, and I'd rather not go back to having people driving cars without insurance (which the undocumented do... even when they're in their own country). Unless we're willing to give up those extra requirements, letting the undocumented get driver's licenses won't solve this problem.

To my thinking, they problem is only truly solved by eliminating the lack of documentation. Make it very distasteful to the undocumented to be undocumented. Take away their reason for being undocumented. And that leads to some very draconian measures.

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