To the editor:
We are writing to support the pending legislation known as the Driver’s License and Privacy Act (S.1747/A.3675), which will restore access to licenses to all residents of New York, regardless of immigration status. This bill will protect all New Yorkers by making our roads safer.
The law will permit all residents of New York State — including undocumented immigrants — to apply for the lowest tier of New York state driver’s licenses, called a “standard license,” which is clearly marked “not for federal purposes.” The holder must successfully pass the written and road tests before they can drive.
However, the license does not give him or her the ability to vote, board an airplane, or even enter a federal building, and it in no way changes their immigration status. What it does do is make us all safer as everyone driving will know all the rules and will be driving registered and insured vehicles.
Issuing these licenses also would be a tremendous boon to our economy, generating millions of dollars annually through fees, taxes and related costs. It would lower insurance premiums for all drivers.
Furthermore, the state’s economy will receive a boost as thousands of people purchase cars and workers overcome barriers to transportation that prevent them from driving to their jobs. This is especially critical for residents of Upstate New York and on Long Island.
Twelve states, including Utah, already have implemented this. It is imperative that we let our Assembly members and state senators know how important this is as well as friends and family members who reside elsewhere in the state.
The authors are co-chairs of the immigration rights committee of NYCD-16 Indivisible.