Conservative Colorado talk radio hosts Peter Boyles of 630 KHOW-AM and Mike Rosen of Newsradio 850 KOA distorted the intent of state House Bill 1330 by suggesting that the measure would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. In fact, the Democratic-sponsored bill would require proof of lawful residence in order to acquire a driver's license.
630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles recently mischaracterized Colorado House Bill 1313 by asserting that as a result of the legislation, "you're gonna see illegal aliens getting driver's licenses." Similarly, Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen agreed with a caller who misleadingly claimed that the bill would "allow illegal aliens to attain driver's licenses." Rosen further suggested that the bill was part of an effort by Democrats "[t]o make things easier for people who are here illegally." Neither Boyles nor Rosen substantiated their assertions with any facts. In fact, HB 1313 requires that driver's licenses be issued only upon proof of lawful residence, conforming with standards established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Boyles, who has repeated numerous falsehoods about illegal immigration on his show, made his misleading statement about HB 1313 during an April 25 live broadcast from the immigration reform rally "Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2007: A National Drive for Immigration Reform," which took place April 22-25 in Washington, D.C. Conservative talk show hosts from around the country broadcast from the rally, which was sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Colorado Media Matters has noted that FAIR has faced bipartisan accusations of airing "racially inflammatory" anti-immigration ads in conjunction with another group, the Coalition for the Future of the American Worker.
From the April 25 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:
BOYLES: Locally here, get ready. Now comes, it, it's House Bill 07 dash 1313. Been reading about this. What it eventually will be is you're gonna see illegal aliens getting driver's licenses. Now, "Tax" Ritter was one-time Denver DA. That's law enforcement. Watch this one. HR -- excuse me, HB 07 -- because it's our year, 2007 -- 1313. It's already come through the Senate of Colorado; headed to the House. We are gonna keep you informed. 07 1313. It will establish clear and standard rules for documents that will be required to obtain a state driver's license or an identification card. It's come through the House, pardon me, and it's been introduced in the Senate. Watch that.
Contrary to Boyles' suggestion, the language of HB 1313 specifies that the Department of Revenue, which oversees the Division of Motor Vehicles, must promulgate rules consistent with those established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for verifying an applicant's lawful residence in the United States:
The Department shall promulgate rules establishing the requirements to prove that a license applicant is lawfully present in the United States. Such rules shall conform to standards established by the United States Department of Homeland Security for proving lawful presence.
Similarly, a caller on Rosen's April 24 broadcast falsely claimed that under the bill, illegal aliens would be able to obtain driver's licenses "using bogus, unexpired documents."
From the April 24 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
CALLER: Right now, we've got HB 07 -- House Bill 1313.
CALLER: Allowing illegal aliens to attain driver's licenses --
ROSEN: Yes, I'm familiar with that.
CALLER: -- using bogus, unexpired documents. Apparently, Governor Ritter is the only one standing between this bill becoming law. And so the Democrats have all this, all these constituents who are fighting to, to change the law --
ROSEN: To make things easier for people who are here illegally.
CALLER: Well, of course. And -- and, of course, as you well know, Republicans have their groups who also are doing that. But the grass roots are --
ROSEN: But let's not, let's not equate Republicans and Democrats. Overwhelmingly, Republicans stand for tougher enforcement of our immigration laws, and Democrats stand for more lax enforcement.
In fact, the bill specifies that the documents to be submitted as proof of lawful residence be valid, and lists the types of documents that would be acceptable:
In promulgating such rules, the following documents shall be deemed, if valid, to establish lawful presence:
(a) A passport issued by the United States government and one other document listed in this paragraph (b);
(b) A birth certificate issued by the United States government, Colorado, any other state, or a political subdivision of the United States or any other state, and at least one of the following:
(I) A Social Security card issued by the United States government;
(II) A marriage, divorce, or separation certificate or decree;
(III) A Colorado or federal tax return; or
(IV) An identity document issued by the department of corrections;
(c) A driver's license or identification document issued by the United States government, Colorado, or any state that requires lawful presence to obtain such document and one other document listed in paragraph (b) of this subsection (6);
(d) An identity document issued by the Department of Corrections and a Social Security card issued by the United States government;
(e) Documents issued by the United States government granting or recognizing the applicant's immigration, asylum, or refugee status; and
(f) Any document or combination of documents recognized by the United States government to prove lawful presence in the United States.