Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 4, 2008
Michigan recently passed a somewhat draconian law regarding non-residents acquiring a drivers license. Like a lot of laws, the idea seemed sound — don’t let illegal aliens (read: terrorists) get drivers licenses, which can lead to them getting other citizenship-type benefits. But in practice it could cause all sorts of callateral damage such as highly valued foreign workers at multinational corporations, universities, and research institutes being denied licenses.
The silly thing is, if a drivers license was simply a drivers license — a card indicating that one has been successfully prepared to operate a motor vehicle in Michigan (which should, by the way, include advanced pothole avoidance maneuvers) — then this wouldn’t be such an issue. It would be in our best interest for any potential driver to have one — to be licensed to drive. Unfortunately, a drivers license functions as so more in its capacity as a picture ID. So now we have this unfortunate law on the books and our Attorney General is enforcing it. Good thing we don’t need no stinkin’ foreign investment here in Michigan….