In the spirit of the Truth-O-Meter, I wanted to respond to the N&O’s commentary on the recent immigration ad put out by the Republican Governor’s Association.
The ad makes four claims regarding Perdue’s record on immigration. Curiously, Under the Dome only mentions the first claim:
Bev Perdue presided over legislation that made it easier for illegal aliens to get a driver’s license.
This first claim, as the N&O mentions, is arguable. First, as Lt. Governor, Perdue only presided over the budget. Hence, she did not vote for the budget. That being said, the 2001 budget is a particularly egregious example of using the budget to pass controversial legislation that would not have passed had it not been inserted in the budget.
In this case, the 2001 budget rescinded a state law requiring all applicants for a driver’s license to provide a Social Security number. Instead, the budget permitted persons who are “ineligible” (i.e., illegal aliens) for a Social Security number to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply for a license.
The N&O claims that this change made it harder for illegal aliens to get a driver’s license, but that is patently false. Anyone can get an ITIN number and it is precisely for this reason that the DMV was forced in 2006 to stop accepting ITINs (owing to reforms required by Real ID). As Lt. Governor, of course, Perdue could also be said to have presided over this 2006 legislation … although it is a curious fact that it was during the Easley/Perdue administration that illegal aliens from all over the United States flocked to North Carolina to obtain driver’s licenses.
So what about Claims 2, 3 and 4?
Claim 2 is that Perdue cosponsored legislation that would have provided universal healthcare for anyone with a driver’s license.
This claim is true. Read the legislation here. As you can see, the bill — waiting in the wings in case HillaryCare came to pass — would have created a “universal healthcare program for all North Carolina residents,” a program developed and implemented by a state commission appointed by the governor.
Now whether illegal aliens would have received healthcare under Perdue’s plan is up for debate. Eligibility required possessing a driver’s license (more difficult for illegals to obtain back in 1993), registering to vote (well, anyone can do that in North Carolina) or filing a state tax return. No doubt, some illegal aliens would have met these qualifications back in 1993; far more, after 2001.
Claim 3: Perdue passed legislation that allowed illegal aliens to attend community college at the in-state tuition rate.
This claim refers to a now-forgotten loophole (section 115D-39) in the 2000 budget (Perdue was Senate Appropriations chair at the time) that permits illegal aliens who have filed a petition with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be granted in-state community college tuition.
This claim is especially interesting given that Perdue is now a vocal opponent of admitting illegal aliens into state community colleges. Of course, as Lt. Governor, Perdue was on the State Board of Community Colleges in 2004 when the system started admitting illegal aliens on a college-by-college basis. She didn’t complain about the policy until she started running for governor in 2007.
Claim 4: Perdue supported a mandate expanding worker’s compensation for illegal aliens.
This claim is not as devastating as it may appear. The law merely changed some of the terms under which the survivors of aliens killed on the job may receive worker’s compensation. Apart from the particulars of this law, the legislation raises an interesting question. Does legislation that requires employers to treat illegal aliens like other employees (for instance, in terms of offering them workers compensation) validate the hiring of illegal aliens? Or does it provide a cost disincentive to hire an illegal alien? All in all, I think such laws encourage illegal immigration. A better solution would be to permit the families of illegal aliens to sue employers whose negligence results in a death. … . Finally, I might also add that an “alien” is not necessarily the same as an illegal alien. Some aliens — those on tourist visas or guest worker permits — are legal “nonresident aliens.”
Finally, I will add that Perdue boasts about developing and expanding the Disadvantaged Student Supplemental Fund (DSSF). Among other things, DSSF funds Limited English Proficiency Enrollment (LEP) programs. During Perdue’s tenure as Lt. Gov., Limited English Proficiency Enrollment (LEP) went up by more than 67 percent. During the same period, LEP appropriations more than doubled.
To begin with, 73% of N.C. voters oppose paying higher taxes for special school programs for non-English speaking students (July 2005).
Yet, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office (June 2004), the cost to educate a student characterized by both limited English proficiency and poverty (i.e., most illegal immigrant students) is 30 percent to 200 percent more than average per pupil costs. Today the average per pupil support cost to educate students is $5,300. This figure, in other words, would be significantly lower if we were not educating students from illegal immigrant households.