December 17, 2019

Statement by Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform For the New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee

Statement by Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform
For the New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee
Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill
December 12, 2019
Statement by Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform For the New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill December 12, 2019
Distinguished Members of the Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you and share my views about New Jersey Senate Bill 3229.
My name is Christopher Hull, and I serve as a senior fellow at Americans for Intelligence Reform. My organization advocates for policies that help keep Americans safe at home and abroad.
You know far more than I about New Jersey transportation law and, for that matter, New Jersey politics. I defer to you on both.
What I do know something about is immigration and national security policy.
I graduated from Harvard University with a degree magna cum laude in Government. While I was there I got to study under the late, great Professor Stanley Hoffmann, one of the greatest historians of the 20th Century. The thesis I wrote under his guidance was on radicalization and mass movements.
I also graduated from Georgetown University with a doctorate in American Government. While I was there, I got to study under the late, great Professor Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. My dissertation, which was nominated for the American Political Science Association’s E.E. Schattschneider prize for best dissertation of the year in American politics, explored grassroots mobilization. Stanford University Press published it under the title Grassroots Rules in 2007.
I have also had the opportunity and great good fortune to serve in government at both the state and federal level. At the beginning of my career I was privileged to serve at the lowest possible level in the White House. I have spent time as a foreign policy legislative aide in the United States Senate, and helped write What Comes Next, a book on domestic policy with a former senior White House aide James P. Pinkerton. I was the Majority Caucus Staff Director of a State Senate in a state capitol working for distinguished community leaders much like you. More recently, I served as a Chief of Staff in the U.S. House of Representatives focused largely on immigration. Finally, I have served as Executive Vice President of a national security policy think tank in Washington, D.C., again with a major focus on immigration.
Today my work focuses on keeping Americans safe.
Which brings me here, to you.
I respect the good intentions of S-3229. I know each of you values New Jersey’s immigrant community and wants to improve the lives of individuals in your districts, and I salute you for that.
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform Testimony for New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill, December 12, 2019, p. 2
I do have some questions, however, about whether this bill does that.
First, as has been elsewhere noted, the bill increases the price of driver’s licenses for citizens and legal immigrants from $24 to $29 – while it gives illegal immigrants driver’s licenses at a cut rate $18.1 Giving illegal aliens drivers licenses is one thing. Discounting licenses for illegals is another. One critic has called the national movement to hand out licenses to illegals part of “the effort to blur the distinction between law-abiding residents and foreigners who believe they are above the law.”2 This bill is worse: It’s an effort to put foreigners above not just the law but above law-abiding residents, too.
Second, among the major arguments of proponents of licenses for illegals is that such foreigners need them to get to work. Yet earlier this year, officials in upstate New York revolted, with county clerks in four counties (Erie, Rensselaer, Niagara and Allegany) saying they would not comply with the recently-passed licenses for illegals bill there. 3 One of those clerks commented in the press, “In the memo of the bill, they talk about the reason why they’re passing this bill is to make sure that people who are here illegally can get to and from work. It is illegal to hire people in the state of New York or anywhere that are here illegally. There’s an inconsistency there.”4
In addition, in October, another county clerk filed a lawsuit arguing that New York has not told clerks how to make sure undocumented immigrants are not given the option to register to vote when they apply for driver’s licenses.5 For that matter, recall that in 2007 then-New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer issued an executive order offering licenses to illegals and had to pull it back two months later under a bipartisan backlash, according to a New York Times report.6
Worse, under the bill you’re considering today in particular, documents and information obtained from an applicant for an illegal alien’s driver’s license will be confidential and not be considered a government record. More specifically, the bill prohibits the use of this material in the investigation, arrest, citation, prosecution, or detention of illegal aliens, as it relates to for their criminal immigration status. The bill does include exceptions for certain federal legal provisions (pursuant to 8 U.S.C. s.1373 and 8 U.S.C. s.1644) and for a valid court order or subpoena. That said, today’s New Jersey Licenses for Illegals Bill does not include an exception for illegal aliens who drive drunk or commit human trafficking, arson, violent
1 “Peterson takes issue with cheaper driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants,” NJ Assembly GOP, YouTube, December 19, 2019, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEW0P7fUC9I, retrieved December 11, 2019. 2 See John Feere, “Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants an issue in three states,” The Hill, October 27, 2014, available at https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/221914-drivers-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants-an-issues-in- three, retrieved December 11, 2019. 3 Tamar Lapin, “Upstate NY clerks refuse to grant illegal immigrants driver’s licenses,” New York Post, June 19, 2019, available at https://nypost.com/2019/06/19/upstate-county-clerks-take-stand-against-illegal-immigrant-licence-law/, retrieved December 11, 2019. 4 Lapin, https://nypost.com/2019/06/19/upstate-county-clerks-take-stand-against-illegal-immigrant-licence-law/. 5 Christina Goldbaum, “County Clerks Revolt Over N.Y. Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants,” The New York Times, November 14, 2019, available at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/immigrants-drivers- license.html, retrieved December 11, 2019. 6 Goldbaum, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/nyregion/immigrants-drivers-license.html.
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform Testimony for New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill, December 12, 2019, p. 3
child abuse, sexual assault, rape, murder, vehicular manslaughter or homicide, or even terrorism.7 It should. An alien illegally present in the United States guilty of such offenses should face investigation, arrest, citation, prosecution, detention, and frankly imprisonment or deportation, as appropriate, for their criminal immigration status, period – and, frankly, should not get a discounted drivers license in New Jersey regardless.
Let’s take drunk driving as one example directly relevant to drivers licenses. In Fiscal Year 2017, “Traffic Offenses – DUI,” i.e. driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, was the most commonly listed component of the criminal backgrounds of aliens administratively arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a staggering 80,547 or 56% of those arrested, including criminal charges and convictions in the federal system of record, according to ICE.8 It seems to me that given that fact, S-3229 should include some kind of exception that either bars illegal aliens convicted of drunk driving from receiving licenses, allows law enforcement personnel to use drivers license application documents in criminal immigration proceedings as part of their investigation into those crimes, or both.
Another example: the second-most common element of criminal background of ICE-arrested aliens in the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2017 was “Dangerous Drugs,” a total of 76,503 aliens, or 53%.9 Illegal aliens convicted of criminal charges associated with dangerous drugs would seem to be an important ground for excluding applicants from licenses – or at least allowing law enforcement authorities to use submitted documents in an investigation that might result in deportation.
How about “Traffic Offenses,” which figured fourth most often in the criminal backgrounds of aliens in FY2017, a total of 68,346 aliens, or 47% of those arrested by ICE.10 That’s right: You’re about to vote for a bill that gives drivers licenses to illegals, and shields the documents they submit from disclosure for investigations, even if they are charged or convicted specifically of traffic offenses, one of the most common offenses aliens arrested by ICE commit in the U.S.. That’s a mistake.
The list goes on: Liquor Offenses, Sex Offenses, Weapons Offenses, Stolen Vehicles, Robbery, Sexual Assault, Kidnapping, Homicide – all too common among the backgrounds of ICE-arrested aliens in FY2017.11 None carved out in S-3229.
7 See “SENATE, No. 3229,” Bill Text, New Jersey Senate Bill 3229, LegiScan, available at https://legiscan.com/NJ/text/S3229/id/2058548, retrieved December 11, 2019. 8 “Fiscal Year 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, available at https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report/2017/iceEndOfYearFY2017.pdf, retrieved December 11, 2019. 9 “Fiscal Year 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report,” https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report/2017/iceEndOfYearFY2017.pdf. 10 “Fiscal Year 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report,” https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report/2017/iceEndOfYearFY2017.pdf. 11 “Fiscal Year 2017 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, available at
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform Testimony for New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill, December 12, 2019, p. 4
This concern is compounded by the fact that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has taken administrative action through his attorney general to turn New Jersey into a sanctuary state. That means that illegal aliens arrested for these crimes whom federal officials ask to be detained may not be, and are being systematically released back into your communities instead. You may support this policy – in my view, incorrectly – but combining it with discounted drivers licenses shielded from investigation should still seem like a mistake.
Let’s be specific: In September, ICE arrested 54 illegal aliens in New Jersey targeting at-large criminals released back into the community by state officials. Here are the three still at large or under local arrest at the time, according to an ICE release:12
• Luciano Trejo-Dominguez, 33, was arrested Aug. 12 by the Vineland Police Department for aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault (victim 13-15 years old), criminal restraint, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. On Aug. 13, 2019 and Aug. 14, 2019, respectively, the Pacific Enforcement Response Center and the ICE office in Mount Laurel both lodged detainers on Trejo-Dominguez with the Cumberland County Jail. He was released into the community Aug. 23, 2019, and remains at-large.
• On Aug. 18, 2019, Edgar Camarillo-Ruiz,33, was arrested by the New Brunswick Police Department for the charge of Simple Assault – Domestic Violence. On August 19, 2019, ICE lodged a detainer with the Middlesex County Jail; however, the detainer was not honored, and Camarillo-Ruiz was released into the community. He remains at-large.
• On Dec. 24, 2018, Elvis Rafael Cabrera-Vasquez, 38, was arrested by the Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Police Department and charged with Simple Assault/Domestic Violence. ICE lodged a detainer that same day with the Middlesex County Jail; however, the detainer was not honored, and Cabrera-Vasquez was released into the community. On Feb. 14, 2019, Cabrera-Vasquez was arrested by the Perth Amboy, New Jersey Police Department and charged with Contempt-Violate a Domestic Violence Judicial Order.
Under S-3229 as written, these three individuals could not only walk in and get a discounted drivers license, but the documents they use are thereby shielded from investigations relating to their criminal immigration status. That strikes me as a policy problem.
Another potential concern: At this same hearing you are considering an eminently sensible bill, S-4283 sponsored by Sen. Diegnan, which would require public transportation employees to complete training course on handling and responding to suspected human trafficking. Other New Jersey measures mandate such reporting. S-3229 as written appears to punish honest public servants’ potentially mandatory reporting
https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report/2017/iceEndOfYearFY2017.pdf, retrieved December 11, 2019. 12 “ICE arrests 54 in NJ during a week-long enforcement action targeting at-large criminal aliens released into the community,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, September 26, 2019, available at https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-arrests-54-nj-during-week-long-enforcement-action-targeting-large-criminal- aliens, retrieved December 11, 2019.
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform Testimony for New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill, December 12, 2019, p. 5
of human trafficking with up to 18 months in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, and a criminal record for life. It should not.
Finally, let’s be clear: The federal REAL ID Act, which New Jersey’s proposed Licenses for Illegals bill explicitly circumvents, implemented recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, including standardizing state driver’s licenses and preventing illegal aliens from boarding airplanes, entering government buildings or accessing nuclear power plants.13
Now, the bill takes certain steps to avoid having the licenses for illegals used for the latter purposes, but Colorado for one has found such steps problematic. In 2014, an ID company then called MorphoTrust, now apparently operating under the name Idemia14 – the vendor New Jersey uses as well15 – accidentally issued 524 non-federally-compliant Colorado driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Federal law requires driver’s licenses issued to illegal aliens to bear a marking indicating they are not to be used for federal purposes, as S-3229 says – but these did not. MorphoTrust, the vendor that at the time produced IDs for 42 states — tried to retrieve the licenses by offering $100 gift cards to those who return them. Yet after a month a Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) official reported that 189 licenses remained unaccounted for,16 and after two months including the Colorado DMV literally going door to door as part of the retrieval effort, 43 licenses were still outstanding.17
For the record, even California has struggled with this issue. Its design of licenses for illegals was so dangerous to national security that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stopped it from going forward.18
Even granting that none of this may ever happens in New Jersey, by its very nature the Licenses for Illegals bill moves away from the 9/11 Commission Report’s attempt to standardize state driver’s licenses. I know my New Jersey friends remember 9/11 as well as I do as a resident of Washington, D.C. I remember that day I drove South along George Washington Parkway near the Pentagon, and passed under the giant plume of smoke with my sunroof open. I smelled a sickly sweetness as I did. I never want to smell that again.
13 See John Feere, “Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants an issue in three states,” The Hill, October 27, 2014, available at https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/221914-drivers-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants-an- issues-in-three, retrieved December 11, 2019. 14 See MorphoTrust, http://www.morphotrust.com/IdentitySolutions/ForMotorVehicleAgencies.aspx, which now reverts to Idemia, https://www.idemia.com/market/identity-security-na, retrieved December 11, 2019. 15 See e.g. State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, “Live Scan: Electronic Fingerprinting Process,” available at https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/insliced/livescan.htm, retrieved December 11, 2019. 16 Lisa Walton, “Nearly two-thirds of misprinted immigrant IDs have been returned,” The Gazette, October 1, 2014, available at https://gazette.com/government/nearly-two-thirds-of-misprinted-immigrant-ids-have-been- returned/article_84285fc0-efc5-589f-b168-079fd967a37b.html, retrieved December 11, 2019. 17 See John Feere, “Driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants an issue in three states,” The Hill, October 27, 2014, available at https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/221914-drivers-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants-an- issues-in-three, retrieved December 11, 2019. 18 Feere, https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/221914-drivers-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants-an-issues- in-three.
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform Testimony for New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill, December 12, 2019, p. 6
Now, if you support this bill, we won’t necessarily have another 9/11. But the bill is absolutely a clear, explicit step away from measures taken after 9/11 to keep Americans safe from terror strikes.
This is what I recommend Senators today ask themselves today – and what every self-respecting reporter should ask Senators as well:
Do you want to keep illegal aliens from getting a discount on their drivers licenses relative to New Jersey voters?
Do you want to stop a hike on drivers license fees that falls only on legal immigrants and Americans?
Do you want to not only encourage New Jersey officials to report human trafficking, but avoid imprisoning or fining them up to $10,000 for reporting it?
Do you want to make certain that those illegal aliens who are in fact dangerous, especially those who have committed and been convicted of driving-related offenses, don’t get New Jersey licenses?
Specifically, do you want your community to at least be able to deny a discounted license to Mr. Trejo- Dominguez, the one arrested for aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault (victim 13-15 years old), criminal restraint, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child, who has been released back into the New Jersey community anyway rather than detained for ICE under Gov. Murphy’s sanctuary policy – whether you support that policy or not?
Even if Mr. Trejo-Dominquez got a discounted license, do you want your law enforcement to be able to get access to his license application documentation if it’s relevant to an investigation of his criminal immigration status – and it would be, given that he would have documented he was not legally present in the U.S.?
Do you want to be one who stood up and protected New Jersey policies that flowed directly from the 9/11 Commission Report?
Then – please – oppose S-3229, the New Jersey Licenses for Illegals Bill.
Thank you for your time, and for providing me this forum to give you my recommendations. I would be delighted to respond to any questions you may have.
Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Americans for Intelligence Reform Testimony for New Jersey State Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on S-3229 Licenses for Illegals Bill, December 12, 2019, p. 7

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