Bill Could Grant Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants
Undocumented immigrants in the state of New York is one step closer to securing a driver’s license. The state’s Senate will be voting on the Green Light Bill this week. If passed, undocumented immigrants will be given the ability to apply for a driver’s license. This will make it easier for them to gain employment and provide for their family.
The bill has already passed in the state’s Democratic-led Assembly 87-61 and primarily along party lines. Governor Andrew Cuomo has already announced that he will sign the bill into law if it passes the Assembly. Supporters of the bill believe that providing undocumented immigrants with the ability to get a driver’s license is a matter or fairness and safety. The immigrants will be able to get formal training and qualify for insurance. Licenses that are issued to the immigrants will be clearly marked as drive-only and will reduce the amount of people driving illegally.
Holding a drivers License enables Immigrants to get better jobs
Personal information contained on the driver’s license will not be accessible to authorities, such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, unless the license holder is subpoenaed as part of a criminal investigation.
In 2002, then Governor George Pataki signed an executive order requiring that anyone who wanted a state driver’s license to provide a Social Security number. Prior to the events of 9/11, all New York residents could apply for a license without stipulations. If the new law goes into effect, approximately 265,000 people will be eligible to apply for a driver’s license across the state, 150,000 living in New York City. It would bring in a one-time revenue of $15 million and an estimated recurring annual revenue of $34 million. The money will be used to help bolster the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other programs across the state as well as lower insurance premiums.
There have been security concerns raised about allowing undocumented immigrants getting their driver’s license. The New York Association of Country Clerks has expressed concerns about the ability of their staff to evaluate the validity of foreign documents due to lack of training.
12 other states already have legislation in place that allow undocumented immigrants the ability to ger a driver’s license. The state of Connecticut has a drive-only license program that was implemented in 2015 like the one New York is considering. Connecticut has seen their immigrant population benefit from the program, allowing them to obtain better paying jobs and saving money from tickets for driving illegally.
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