Cuomo signs bill that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses

Brooklyn Paper
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New York State lawmakers approved the hotly debated Green Light NY bill that allows undocumented immigrants to acquire driver’s licenses.

After the bill cleared the final hurdle of passage in the Democrat-controlled state Senate on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law — a move that proponents say will boost the economy and critics argue enables immigrants that illegally enter the country.

“While opponents continue to spread misinformation and stoke fears about the bill’s intent and consequences, the Assembly Majority will continue to put the needs of New Yorkers first,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “The legislation we passed today will promote public safety, protect our state’s economy and ensure every New Yorker can integrate into their community and care for their family. Making sure that every driver is trained, tested and insured will make New York’s roads safer for everyone and ensure that our industries have the labor they need to keep our economy moving.”

New York joins 12 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia that have already enacted laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. The move further positions the Empire State in opposition to President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration stance.

“By passing this needed legislation, we are growing our economy while at the same time making our roads safer,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester). “This is the right step forward for New York State as we continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level.”

The bill, which passed the state Senate by a vote of 33 to 29 and goes into effect immediately, reverses a ban enacted in 2001. Estimates on how many undocumented immigrants will benefit from the law range from 250,000 to 750,000. It will result in $83.9 million in government revenues over the first three years and $6.4 million in recurring revenue thereafter, the Fiscal Policy Institute estimates.

In effect, it allows anyone applying for a non-commercial driver’s license or learner’s permit to submit additional proofs of identity for applicants that sign an affidavit indicating that they haven’t been issued a social security number. The state will also keep that documentation private.

Fear that the federal government will use the driver’s license application paperwork to deport undocumented immigrants was a sticking point among Democrats in the debate. Cuomo had indicated he would veto the bill if he didn’t get assurances from the Solicitor General that the federal government won’t be able to access the paperwork. But he ultimately signed the bill into law Monday night after the Attorney General Letitia James said “that she believes there are ‘safeguards’ in the bill, and it can be defended; in other words, it cannot be weaponized to be used against undocumented individuals,” Cuomo’s office said in a statement.

James offered her support of the bill in a statement released Monday night.

“The legislation is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver’s licenses,” she said. “If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it.”

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Crown Heights) took to Twitter to celebrate the bill’s passage.

“No one should have to overcome fear just to get to work, pick up their kids from school or otherwise take care of their families,” he said. Proud to fight for our immigrant communities and vote YES on #GreenLigh­tNY.”

State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) blasted Democrats over this and other recent legislation.

“If you’ve been convicted of a serious crime or are in this country illegally, Democrats will give you everything you want and more,” he said. “But if you’re a hardworking, law-abiding, middle-class New Yorker who just wants a better life for yourself and for your family, there’s nothing for you.”

This story first appeared on, one of our sister publications.

Updated 10:04 am, June 18, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Somebody from Somewhere says:
Oh but they cant pass marijuana legislation at the last minute though. More proof that a fence hopper gets top priority than a US born citizen SMH.
June 18, 2019, 10:02 am
Jeff from Bensonhurst says:
I think that this is a slap in the face for ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS. Why should any undocumented immigrants, which means that they have entered the U.S. illegally be given any benefits. Let this immigrants become legal by being documented. They don't pay any taxes. Why should the American public pay for these undocumented immigrants?
June 18, 2019, 10:14 am
Local from Here says:
Oh look! The bigots are here making uneducated comments. SMH.
June 18, 2019, 10:23 am
Somebody from Somewhere says:
Its obvious that this is a plan to get more votes for the dems because lets be real, a certain voting bloc is getting sick & tired of being taken for granted every election cycle. We all know who that voting bloc is & the dems see that they're losing support among them & rightfully so.
June 18, 2019, 11 am
Lawyer from Retained says:
Be careful somewhere, some Brooklyn Paper employee will doxx you if they don’t like your comment. Luckily a law firm has seen the screenshots and will act accordingly.
June 18, 2019, 11:10 am
Florece Whipmann from Fort Green says:
This is just a ploy to register them, so they can be rounded up and deported later. Now the DMV will have a centralized, computerized registry of illegal undocumenteds!
June 18, 2019, 11:53 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Hopefully this can help reduce the number of hit and run incidents.
June 18, 2019, 12:49 pm
K’shawn Harrison from Tribeca says:
The Democrat elite are suddenly realizing that promoting the abortion of Black babies en masse and ignoring rampant Inner city homicides is not the best strategy for replenishing their voters. They need illegals to vote for them so they could stay in power and ruin more cities and more states while they luxuriate in their gated communities and keep far away from the dependent and brainwashed violent riff raff which will continue to support them.
June 18, 2019, 1:30 pm
Somebody from Somewhere says:
The dems are being rejected by black voters for all of their broken promises whenever they get elected. Now they need a replacement base. Thats exactly why they they passed this bill. If thats the case then they should make these illegals, and rich folks, pay for congestion pricing & exempt everyone else.
June 18, 2019, 1:55 pm
james from midwood says:
Best way to keep track
June 18, 2019, 2:05 pm
Tawny Roberts says:
Again appealing to the car community! Why can’t these people ride bikes?!?! Are they too lazy and entitled??
June 19, 2019, 1 pm
Rosa Lopez from Mexico says:
Ole amigos!
June 20, 2019, 2:29 am
Marc from Canarsie, Brooklyn says:
What happens with injuries caused by drivers with no insurance who are illegal aliens? Do we just send them back? How will they take care of the injured party. I know some will have insurance. But, I also know some will not.
June 20, 2019, 12:55 pm
Local from Here says:
Marc, New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, which means that insureds are generally reimbursed by their insurance company for damages regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident. As for your racist comment, I can't help you with your hatred.
June 23, 2019, 12:16 pm

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