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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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24 Comments

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Juan Garrido

Ah yes we will become like “Ponnsylvania” Rode eylynn” Illynois” Meeryland” The law can not override dmv and DHS protocols for issuance of a license to an “undocumented” immigrant any clerk that issues one will be liable for the repercussions. our commissar is a total idiot . That is not valid id as per DHS regs soon enough. Not recognized you wont be able to fly with it. A waste of plastic time and effort.

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Crazy Pols at it again

What the hell is going on in this country. Since when do politicians decide to skirt laws they don’t like. If they find a law that is intolerable then use the legal process of amending the law. What the hell is going on in this country regarding illegal immigrants. Why are we kowtowing to this insane politicians and their need to bolster the illegal immigrants. Go to any other country and try and pull this and see where you land. Cross illegally into Mexico and they dump you into a hell hole of a prison. When are we going to wake up! This law will not coerce illegal immigrants to get insurance.

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Aggie Breault

Cuomo is a 1st class POS and does not care about you, NY ! The Democratic party has gotten so ungodly desperate, that they are passing rediculous bills. Solely to secure VOTES in the 2020 election. This is absurd. No reason for this when there is public transportation available on just about every corner of NY. Who will enforce that Liability insurance is carried; what happens if your injured or worse by uninsured motorists; will Cuomo and his cronies compensate you for your loss, or are you shit out of luck – because they sold you out for votes?

Please STOP THE MADNESS !
THINK ! Regardless of your party affiliation – THINK, is this good for NY, or for Americans ? Put down your bickering because you dont like a particular President or Candidate. They will only sit in office for 2 terms max. WE have to live with the consequences of their actions, long afterwards.

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Santiago

Will these licenses be honored in other states? I have family in NJ and Maine.

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Deigo

I approve! This is about helping people and families get to work, school and doctors.

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Samm

Hopefully this will result in faster food deliveries since they will be able to drive a vehicle.

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AstoriaMom

Good. Give me licensed drivers I share the road with. This is a good thing!!!

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Toni

So Illegals will go and get a driver’s license but will be too scared to fill out a census?

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Giulia

There are so many of them that either live and/or work in Astoria. I rather have them drive with a license and insured.

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Insurance?? Nope.

You think they are going to get insurance after this? Can they pay insurance companies in cash?

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Jenn

Allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver license is a big cash boost to NY. There is a multitude of rolling fees, more taxes from gas. Cmon folks it’s 2019.

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Bart

We have citizens in America looking for jobs, also veterans. Open the door for these people and everyone will want to come here, cuomo thinks with his you know what, with only his future in mind. Us tax payers are supporting his stupidity. Time to impeach cuomo, he is no good. Save our country people, or the politicians are gonna destroy it. Our fore fathers built this great country, and fought for our freedom. Help these immigrants out but in their own country. get out of office cuomo, your killing new york

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Never Left Astoria

“Supporters of the controversial bill say the new law is necessary so undocumented immigrants can get to their jobs and access healthcare”…… WAIT Don’t employers have to verify that employees are documented if they do not have social security number or show that a social number application has been applied for?

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One does not automatically equal the other.

Rebecca: licensed doesn’t necessarily mean safe.

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Aggie Breault

NY State will be falsifying their documents. Read the article, it states their information will be “Protected” from immigration authorities !!

Cuomo is a 1st class POS and does not care about you, NY ! The Democratic party has gotten so ungodly desperate, that they are passing rediculous bills. Solely to secure VOTES in the 2020 election. This is absurd. No reason for this when there is public transportation available on just about every corner of NY. Who will enforce that Liability insurance is carried; what happens if your injured or worse by uninsured motorists; will Cuomo and his cronies compensate you for your loss, or are you shit out of luck – because they sold you out for votes?

Please STOP THE MADNESS !
THINK ! Regardless of your party affiliation – THINK, is this good for NY, or for Americans ? Put down your bickering because you dont like a particular President or Candidate. They will only sit in office for 2 terms max. WE have to live with the consequences of their actions, long afterwards.

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Pat Macnamara

great! Now they will be documented and will be a lot easier to round up and deport! Well done! Make Astoria Great Again!

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I thought Astoria was already great

Pat Macnamaracist it’s a shame you have so little pride in our neighborhood.

I’d also like you to stop criticizing our President; he used so much illegal labor he had to settle for $1 mil. Are you going to judge him for that.

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Jorge

No, not easy at all. Dems put wording into law that states federal government must obtain a court order to view records for this driver’s license. Also (by law) state must notify holder within three (3) days when anyone makes a request to view records.

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Joe

Lol, you forgot the sarcasm tag. Still funny, though. Can you believe there are people who still believe what Trump says?

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