New York latest state to approve driver's
licenses for illegal immigrants
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[June 18, 2019]
By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) - Illegal immigrants to the
United States will be able to obtain driver's licenses in New York under
a bill passed by the state legislature on Monday and signed into law by
Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The state Senate in Albany voted 33-29 to approve the legislation, which
previously passed in the Assembly. Democrats control both chambers of
New York will join at least a dozen other states that allow illegal
immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, becoming the second most
populous state after California to take that step.
Many Republicans in New York opposed the measure, which was passed after
Republican President Donald Trump moved to crack down on illegal
immigration on several fronts.
New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy in a statement said the
bill was one of several measures demonstrating the state's Democrats
"are in lockstep with leftist radicals and could care less about the
priorities of taxpaying New Yorkers."
Cuomo, a Democrat, had expressed concern that if the bill was enacted it
would create a database of undocumented immigrants that federal
authorities could use to deport them.
But the New York state attorney general has declared the bill had
safeguards against that, Cuomo's legal counsel, Alphonso David, said in
Cuomo signed the bill on Monday night, his spokesman Peter Ajemian said
in an email. It will take effect before the end of the year, according
to the text of the measure.
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Traffic is pictured at twilight along 2nd Ave. in the Manhattan
borough of New York, U.S., March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
New York state Senator Luis Sepúlveda, the measure's Democratic
sponsor, said in a statement it will benefit the children of illegal
immigrants by allowing their parents to drive them to school.
"In a time when immigrants' rights and livelihoods are being
severely threatened, the Green Light Bill is a clear message that we
New Yorkers will always choose to lead with courage and love and to
fight for everyone's right to the American Dream," Sepúlveda said.
He also said it will improve safety on the roads.
In California, hit-and-run accidents decreased after illegal
immigrants were granted driver's licenses beginning in 2015,
according to a study by Stanford University researchers that was
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in
The authors of the study suggested that, before the law took effect,
illegal immigrants were more likely to flee the scene of an accident
because their vehicles were unregistered and they feared having them
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie
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