Statement By Senator Farley Regarding Issuance Of Driver's Licenses

Hugh T. Farley

December 18, 2007

Governor Spitzer's administrative directive to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens is equivalent to hanging out a "welcome terrorists" sign at the State's borders.

Driver's licenses are used for all kinds of identification purposes, including, ironically, access to the underground parking garage next to the State Capitol. The Governor's plan effectively demolishes six years of anti-terrorism preparations, and returns us to the day when the September 11th terrorists were able to use driver's licenses to masquerade as citizens.

The Governor's action may well be illegal itself. The legal way to change a State agency's regulation is through adoption of a new regulation, following publication in the State Register and a period of public comment. Last year, I sponsored a law which encourages public participation in the regulatory process by allowing people to comment using electronic mail. It is unfortunate that the Governor is using the ruse of an administrative directive to avoid giving citizens the opportunity to formally express their views. Even a correctly adopted regulation would seem to violate the State law (section 502, Vehicle and Traffic Law) which requires driver's license applicants to provide their Social Security number, because illegal aliens obviously don't have Social Security numbers.

In addition to placing all New Yorkers at risk of our lives, the Governor has imposed a new burden on law-abiding citizens. Since New York's licenses will not meet federal standards as a secure means of identification, citizens will have to provide another form of identification, such as a passport, for federal purposes such as air travel and access to federal facilities.

I hope that the Governor will come to his senses and rescind this dangerous administrative directive. If he does not do so, I will join my Legislative colleagues in pursing all possible corrective actions including, if necessary, litigation.