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Cuomo Signs Bill Granting Undocumented Immigrants Ability to Get a Driver’s License

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

June 18, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Monday a bill that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

Cuomo signed the bill shortly after it passed narrowly in the state senate yesterday, by a vote of 33 to 29. The bill passed the Assembly last week, which had the strong support of Assembly Member Catalina Cruz.

The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, sponsored by State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda and backed by senators Jessica Ramos and Mike Gianaris, passed after fierce debate.

Opponents of the law argue that it gives the undocumented the privileges that should be bestowed upon those who are here legally. With the undocumented being able to use foreign documents to apply for a license, some opponents are also concerned about fraud. Others cite the potential for voter fraud.

Supporters of the controversial bill say the new law is necessary so undocumented immigrants can get to their jobs and access healthcare. Furthermore, many undocumented immigrants drive anyway.

Supporters also argue that there will be fewer unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road, making the roads less dangerous. Additionally, the new law will bring in state revenue, with $84 million expected to come in over the first three years.

Queens representatives State Senator Mike Gianaris and State Senator Jessica Ramos, who have been long-time advocates for the bill, voiced their support during yesterday’s senate session.

“It’s a civil rights issue,” said Ramos in her statement before giving her official yes vote. “Are you really going to deny people the ability to drive their kids to school, take their loved ones to access health care, or any other resource? Where is your humanity?” she asked.

Gianaris, after a two hour debate, praised the senate as he voted in favor of the bill.

“I am proud to help lead a Senate that finally stands for justice,” Gianaris said. “I will continue to fight against gross, anti-immigrant rhetoric that dehumanizes immigrants who make our state the remarkable, diverse center of the world that it is.”

Applicants will be able to use foreign documents to get a license. These include an unexpired passport from the country of citizenship or a foreign driver’s license. The legislation will require the applicant to sign an affidavit that they have not received a Social Security number.

The license would have a stamp on it indicating that it is not eligible for federal identification and would not allow the license holder to vote.

Governor Cuomo, who has been a long time supporter of the bill, did waver on his decision based on the concern that the law might essentially be giving a list of undocumented immigrants to the federal government. Cuomo’s qualms were eased after being reassured by state Solicitor General Barbara Underwood that there would be protections.

Under the legislation, license holders must be notified within three days if any request is made to see their personal files. A court order would have to be filed in order for the state to release the personal information to the federal government.

The law will go into effect in 180 days, making New York the 13th state in the U.S. to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

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42 Comments

Lizzet Costa

Wow, 84 million dollars for the State. I wanna be part of that campaign party, instead of playing the lottery and trying to win millions.

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Lizzet Costa

Wow, 84 million dollars for the State. I wanna be part of that campaign party, instead of playing the lottery trying to win millions.

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you're* nowadays*

Actually, citizens can already get a driver’s license, so immigrants don’t “get treated better” in any way.

I’m shocked you didn’t know that!

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Sara Ross

If you are given the privilege (it’s not a right) to drive in this country, at least learn English! I feel sorry for the first insured driver who gets into an accident with an immigrant who is not insured and the insured driver is stuck, thanks to Andy, paying for his/her own repairs and getting a higher insurance bill. My grandparents came here through Ellis Island and went through a lot of tests there, had to have papers, a job and a place to live or they were sent back. I’m glad they did things the right way.

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Juls

Look at all those thumbs down, Sara! Should teach you a lesson. How DARE you suggest that people who are here illegally be held responsible for their actions!?

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Jules

I hope President Trump sends in the military to punish and arrest Cuomo and Diblasio and to take temporary military control of the State of NY ! NYC has gone rouge!

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Crackson Heights

Ah yes the rise of facism . Let’s have Marshall law over a damn license . Remember they didn’t start gassing the Jews day one and once they did it was “regular ” folks who looked the other way or said I was just following order . What side of history do you want to be on. Resist .

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Midtowngirl

Giving licences to illegals is ridiculous. Try going to the DMV to change your license to Enhanced. Bring every legal and official document you have in a big shopping bag. Also you are probably the only one among the hundreds waiting 2 and a half hours that were born in this country. Leave without your license because they have an issue with your middle name. Bring back baptism papers proving where you got your middle name and have them tell you they don’t accept church documents. After all that pay $5 for parking in their lot.

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BIKE or WALK then

Allowing undocumented and illegals to have a driver’s license is such a bad decision. One of the assumptions is that because they have a license they will then more likely have auto insurance –Not true. A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. Parking garages are expensive, very expensive, if they are street parking, then they are taking a spot from a legal US citizen. The mayor wants his U.S. citizens to walk or ride a bike yet willing to give a driver’s license to an undocumented person? So while we walk or bike, an undocumented is driving by? Scott Stringer, the NYC comptroller said the fees from undocumented licenses would be revenue for the city, so there you go, it is about them generating money and not spending the money they have wisely or eliminating waste or bloat.

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Raul Castro

Just tell them you’re seeking asylum from anywhere south of the border and they will give you anything you need. That’s the new law. The problem is you keep telling them you’re a legal citizen

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Wow, you don't understand asylum at all

> they will give you anything you need. That’s the new law

Can you imagine being naive enough to believe this?

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Move to a Republican paradise like Alabama

Yeah you should move somewhere with sky-high teenage pregnancy instead

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Tony

Dear “Move to a Republican paradise like Alabama”

Your posts are always uninformed and asinine. This JH article and all comments are about giving drivers licensees to illegal aliens, not teenage pregnancy.

Using words like “sky-high” does not magically make your lies become true. Who are you trying to influence? The fact is that NY has a higher teen pregnancy rate than AL.
https://www.livescience.com/45355-teen-pregnancy-rates-by-state.html

Perhaps you should move to a state where your GED is impressive.

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Funny you mention GEDs

Republican states have the worst performing education systems too

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JH Economist

Today the line for coffee was a little longer than usual. It’s probly cuz a dem illeguls.

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Tony

* illegals, as in illegal aliens. You really should got back to school and get your GED.

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JH Economist

Disgusting. Giving driver’s licenses to illegals will bring more traffic, more pollution, less parking spaces for the legal people. At the end the legal people pay the consequences. The biggest winners are the auto insurance companies.

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ANOTHER comment from JH Economist aka JH resident fear mongering about immigrants?!

So wait, you don’t think any illegal aliens are driving already?! Wow, you’re really gullible. I think it’s better if they were insured, but that’s just be me.

Luckily you have 0 facts so we don’t have to disprove anything, there’s just no reason to believe you in the first place.

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Sara Ross

Ever take Access A Ride? Some drivers don’t speak English and communicating is impossible.

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Disgusted!

So, now ILLEGALS can LEGALLY get a driver’s license? Can they/will they pay the fees required for a license? Can they afford to purchase a vehicle? Can they afford insurance for a vehicle? Can they afford to register a vehicle? Can they afford driving lessons? Can they afford the upkeep of a vehicle? Since they a receiving so much for free from the taxpayers, they just might be able to afford these expenses. I wonder how many will take advantage of this privilege? Next we , the taxpayers will being giving out cars along with free health care, housing, schooling, etc., etc., etc., !

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Unanimous

Welfare!!! How many women do you see walking with baby carriages and men in the middle of the day I suppose they are working!!!

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Not a Trumptard

Right because no one works second or third shift or ever has a day off.

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Simply wow!

I really wonder what do illegals get for free from taxpayers???? Why all the stupid taxpeyers think that they in some way support illegals? How about iilegals are doing all of your dirty jobs, being paid minimal wages, while you “poor” taxpayers sit on your couches getting fat. Instead of writing stupid comments, at least try opening google and informing yourself on the laws of the country you live in, dear taxpayers!!!!

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Sss

Ignorance at its best!!!’ You think everyone is qualified to get a drivers license?? Well no there are going to
Exceptions to whom can get a license…..obviously people are so ignorant they think everything that immigrants have they get for free.

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