“As a Dominican American who represents one of the most diverse communities in this country, I applaud Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court’s decision to issue an injunction against Arizona’s divisive immigration enforcement law. Allowing any governing body to legalize racial profiling is appalling and flies in the face of our core belief of “innocent until proven guilty”.
Queens State Senator Jose Peralta has been a sponsor of the New York Dream Act for the last two years. The legislation would expand the state's TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) to include undocumented students who qualify. The Assembly allocated $25 million in their one house budget, but it was not included in the Senate's version.
Peralta sat down with us to talk about why the Dream Act should be in the final budget and in his disappointment with Jeff Klein, the leader of the Independent Democrats who run the chamber with the GOP, who opted not to include the legislation in the 2013-14 fiscal plan.
“It took great courage and leadership to achieve marriage equality in New York and to pass the toughest gun laws in the country. Rather than wait on the federal government to do something, Governor Cuomo instead showed the federal government how to get big, important, meaningful things done.
“On behalf of all Dreamers, I am urging Governor Cuomo to again bring to bear his great courage, considerable political skills and extraordinary leadership abilities in getting something big, important and meaningful done. And make no mistake: Immigration reform is important and most certainly needs to get done.
“As a sound investment in our state’s workforce and future that would eventually pay for itself many times over, the Dream Act belongs in the budget.
“The Dream Act means far too much to far too many people to continue to be ignored.”
State Senator Jose Peralta introduced legislation to provide undocumented immigrant New Yorkers access to driver’s licenses. He said that, if enacted, the bill will bring the undocumented into the economic mainstream and improve safety on New York roads.
In introducing the bill, Sen. Peralta noted that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and that uninsured drivers are far more likely to flee the scene of an accident. He added that undocumented immigrants are disproportionately victims of exploitation and fraud.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” Sen. Peralta said. “In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, they will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams. This legislation will also help make all New Yorkers safer by allowing us to identify everyone who drives on our roads and ensure that they are properly credentialed, educated and operating registered, inspected and insured vehicles.”
Sen. Peralta’s bill will permit the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants able to provide non-U.S. identification, prove residence in the state and demonstrate they have not been convicted of a felony crime.
The senate sponsor of the state DREAM Act, Sen. Peralta said he is looking forward to the development during the upcoming legislative session of “a bipartisan response” to the question of integrating New Americans and giving them a chance to succeed and realize the American Dream.
Eleven states already allow undocumented immigrants to secure a driver’s license.
The recent incidents of deadly violence on Roosevelt Ave. — two murders committed in broad daylight within days of each other last month — underscore the fact that we need a lot more than trash bins and video cameras to make Roosevelt Ave. safe.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m in favor of the proposed expansion of the 82nd St. Business Improvement District, which would cover more than 800 businesses on Roosevelt Ave. from 81st St. to 104th St. Fresh paint, additional trash cans and video cameras are certainly welcome. And banding together under the banner of the BID would be good for the small merchants and vendors along the avenue.
But Roosevelt Ave. is referred to as the old Times Square, and for good reason. When police successfully cracked down on prostitution in Times Square and midtown in the 1980s, much of the business simply moved to Roosevelt Ave., where it is fueled, in part, by the sale of foreign-born women into sexual slavery.
As Congress debates comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) has proposed a bill that would give undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” Peralta said. “In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, they will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams.”
If elected mayor, Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio said he plans to bring New Yorkers out of the shadows by working for legislation that would make New York the fifth state to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses.
According to de Blasio, this legislation would allow roadway safety by getting undocumented people who are already driving on our streets into driver’s education classes, covered by auto insurance, operating registered, driving inspected and insured vehicles.
Peralta assures that licenses would not be given out to anyone; only people who can prove who they are through a non-U.S. form of identification, prove residence in the States and demonstrate they have not been convicted of a crime.
Believing the political climate is now in their favor, advocates are launching a major push to allow undocumented immigrants to get New York State driver’s licenses.
Members of more than 50 organizations met Tuesday with an umbrella group known as the New York Immigration Coalition to set their campaign in motion.
“We have really decided to go forward, and go forward full steam,” said Steven Choi, the coalition’s executive director. “We are hearing from our members, from Brentwood in Long Island all the way to Buffalo, that driver’s licenses are a major issue.”
ALBANY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state's Catholic bishops have come out strongly in favor of creating a state DREAM Act allowing state financial aid to go to the college kids of undocumented immigrants.
"It's one of our top priorities this year," state Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.
The Catholic Conference, a strong advocate for national immigration reform, views the DREAM Act legislation sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) as something the state can do in the interim.
Catholic bishops in New York are calling the DREAM Act one of the church’s top priorities for this year’s legislative session. The Church also supports immigration reform on a national level. But with those efforts stalled, attention is shifting to the states, and in this case, the state senate, where it looks like there are not enough votes to pass the bill.
Senator Jose Peralta is trying to convince his colleagues to change their minds. He joined us to discuss.