State Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan, R-Northport, Thursday criticized a Democratic bill that would authorize the issuing of driver’s licenses to undocumented residents.
Called the Green Light bill, the legislation would permit immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses using foreign identity documentation.
“This session, Democrats have yielded to lawbreakers over and over again. We must put the brakes on this unfair proposal which ignores the overwhelming opposition of our citizens to grant this privilege to illegal immigrants. We must Red Light the Green Light bill that simply opens up our system to fraud and places a burden on county clerks and DMV employees to verify the authenticity of foreign documents as proof of identification.”
The New York Association of County Clerks has opposed the legislation because it would be unable to vouch for foreign documentation.
Republicans also say counties would have to pay the cost of hiring more people to deal with a surge of applicants.
Twelve other states have granted undocumented immigrants the right to apply for licenses. Republicans say those other states impose more limitations that what New York Democrats are proposing, including: Utah only allows them to obtain licenses for a period of one-year; the District of Columbia offers limited purpose licenses; Connecticut requires that an applicant file for citizenship; and many remaining states require a tax identification number, tax returns or proof that an illegal immigrant has become the dependent of a state taxpayer.
The bill could face a floor vote in the Assembly next week. Its future in the State Senate is unclear.