Given its importance to the national security of our country, I have renewed efforts to pass legislation to discourage states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. My bill is part of a broader Republican immigration reform proposal.

I think the U.S. Senate has a responsibility to say where it stands on the issue of driver’s licenses for people who enter the country illegally.  Providing state issued licenses to illegal immigrants is not in the best interests of our national security.

Under the Barrasso bill (S. 2334), states must verify that each driver’s license applicant is in the U.S. legally. Noncompliant states would lose 10 percent of their federal transportation funds. The withheld funds would be redistributed to states that follow the law.

For example, if New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants would have passed, New York would have lost $140 million of its $1.4 billion in transportation funds.

This bill is part of a larger GOP immigration reform package aimed at curbing America’s illegal immigration problem.

I am troubled by those who argue that we will be safer if we provide official government papers to those who have come to our nation illegally. I believe this is the wrong path for us to take and it is contrary to the lessons we should have learned from the events of September 11.

Eighteen of the 9/11 hijackers had acquired more than 30 driver’s licenses from five different states. It should be a wakeup call to all of us.  More must be done to prevent this from ever happening again.

Wyoming does not issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Furthermore, Wyoming could gain more highway dollars with the enactment of this bill.

Three of the nation’s most prominent advocacy groups -- NumbersUSA, the Federation of American Immigration Reform and the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License -- which monitor illegal immigration have endorsed my legislation.