74th District Michigan House Republican Representative David Agema has introduced legislation aimed at making Michigan “a more difficult place for illegals to survive.” The legislation, proposed yesterday by Representative Agema, would make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to get social security numbers. While the legislation is not yet available on the House of Representatives website, Agema has told the media that it would make it so that driver’s licenses were only issued to people who can show a social security card or a passport with a stamped visa. Foreign documents could not be used to establish identity.
Agema’s comments on his legislation are steeped in anti-immigrant rhetoric that associates undocumented workers with terrorism. Today in the Grand Rapids Press, Agema was quoted saying “I don’t want illegals, whether they be Hamas, Hispanics or Jamaicans, to get driver’s licenses in this state.” Beyond the association with terrorism and the claims that undocumented immigrants are a threat to the safety of Michigan residents, Agema advances stereotypes that undocumented immigrants take jobs from Michigan residents. In the Press, Agema says “I think the people of Michigan are pretty sick of illegals taking education and health care and so forth.” While the statement encourages xenophobic reactions to immigration, Agema offers no evidence to prove his claim.
Audio files posted on Representative Agema’s website contain additional anti-immigrant statements, including the idea that they drain public resources and steal jobs:
So this will save money. This will make us more secure. And for me this is a big issue. I used to help run a machine shop and I had illegal after illegal walk into my shop with a legal driver’s license based on a fake social security card. That has to stop.
It’s gonna really help save money in health care, education, welfare, jails, and it’ll make us just a little less friendly state for illegals to come to and it will hopefully save some money.
They will ask if you don’t have a social security card number, do you have a passport with a stamped visa? If you do, they will issue. If you don’t they will not issue. Those are the only two cases in which they will issue. That’s the only way you can be here legally if you have a social security number or a passport with a stamped visa.
It would require the Secretary of State in real-time, like instaneously check on the computer, that the social security number and name match. If it doesn’t, no issue. If you are born here, you will have a social security number so it will match.
In the state of Michigan it is very easy for an illegal to get a driver’s license. That creates problems with security, jobs–a lot of illegals come here, get a legal driver’s license, start working, and take the people of Michigan’s jobs away.
In his 2006 election campaign, Agema had immigration as one of his four major issue areas (along with education, employment, and right to life). In his statement on immigration published on his campaign website, Agema pledged to work to prevent “illegal immigrants” from obtaining driver’s licenses. He also asserted that “other states advertise to their illegal immigrant populations in newspapers, recommending they come to Michigan to apply.” No evidence was offered to prove this assertion.