Senate Okays Bill Stopping Drivers’ Licenses For Illegals

James L. Seward

October 22, 2007

The New York State Senate has passed legislation that would stop Governor Spitzer’s plan to issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens by requiring a social security number or proof of authorized presence in the United States to obtain a New York State drivers' license or non-driver identification card.

"The public is united that the governor is wrong on his plan to give drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants," said Senator James L. Seward. "It was done in secret without consulting the legislature or the county clerks who have to administer the program, and it sends a terrible message about the rule of law in America. This is about our security, and closing a loophole created by the governor."

"I have never seen such strong and united opposition to a proposal by the governor," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "Governor Spitzer’s plan to give drivers licenses to illegal aliens has incensed New Yorkers in every part of the State and every political party because they see the threat it would pose to public safety and security. The governor insists on moving forward with this plan, but today the senate will act on legislation to stop it. I urge the assembly to pass this bill to send a clear message to the governor that he should drop this plan."

The legislation (S.6484) approved by the senate would require applicants for drivers' licenses or non-driver identification cards to submit social security numbers. When a social security number cannot be provided, the applicant must demonstrate he is ineligible to get a number and provide satisfactory proof that the applicant's presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.

"My legislation ensures that the most important form of personal identification, the New York state drivers license, maintains its high standard of security and integrity," Senator Padavan said. "This comprehensive legislation reverses the Spitzer administration’s dangerous policy that grants illegal aliens drivers licenses and enacts the necessary safeguards to help eliminate the fraudulent issuances of drivers licenses throughout the state while helping to protect the safety, security and well-being of all New Yorkers."

The senate held a public hearing on the legislation last week. Experts on national security, immigration, secure drivers licenses and ID cards, and representatives of the families of 9/11 victims spoke out against the governor’s plan, calling it a threat to security.