Senate To Pass Bill Stopping Drivers’ Licenses For Illegal Aliens

James L. Seward

September 28, 2007

    In an effort to stop an ill-advised order from Governor Spitzer that could jeopardize the safety and security of New Yorkers, the New York State Senate will act on legislation next month to prohibit the state from issuing drivers' licenses to illegal aliens, Senator James L. Seward said today. The legislation would require a social security number or proof of authorized presence in the United States to obtain a New York State driver's license.

    "The senate's action will help ensure that we're in compliance with federal law -- the Real ID Act -- as opposed to the governor's willful decision to ignore federal and state laws," Seward said.

    "The senate has made its opposition to the governor's plan very clear," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "The senate passed a bill earlier this year that would have prevented illegal aliens from obtaining drivers' licenses and we will act on a new bill when we return for a special session next month to stop the governor's plan. We need the assembly to join us. We need the speaker to bring the assembly back into session, pass our bill, and deliver a strong message to the governor that the people of this state oppose his plan and it must be stopped."

    "We welcome the support of Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, county clerks throughout the state, and many others who recognize that the governor's drivers' license plan jeopardizes the safety and security of all New Yorkers and must be stopped," Senator Bruno added. The legislation the senate will take up next month is similar to bills that would require applicants for drivers' licenses or non-driver identification cards to submit satisfactory proof to the Department of Motor Vehicles that the applicants' presence in the United States is authorized under federal law (S.74); and legislation (S.6250) passed by the senate in June that would require the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain proof from any applicant for a driver's license or nondriver identification card who cannot provide a social security number that he is ineligible for a social security number. The assembly did not act on this bill.

    "Instead of strengthening the identification process for applicants for new drivers' licenses, the governor's new policy will open the floodgates and allow increased fraudulent issuances of licenses throughout the state. I stand in vigorous opposition to the Spitzer administration's policy and will continue to support legislation that will help increase security and provide the necessary safeguards when it comes to obtaining a driver’s license and non-driver ID card in New York State," Seward added.
    "The governor's demand that clerks issue drivers' licenses to illegal aliens is yet another example of the governor's arrogance and his attempt to go around the legislature and bypass 212 elected representatives of the people," Senator Bruno said. "The governor has said publicly that he doesn't need the legislature and can run the state by himself. The drivers' license order is another result of that dictatorial attitude."

    Senator Bruno also criticized Governor Spitzer for his angry attack on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "The mayor simply raised concerns and questioned the governor's order regarding drivers' licenses. By doing so, Mayor Bloomberg became the latest target of Governor Spitzer's temper, when the governor delivered an unnecessarily strong and uncalled for attack on the mayor over a basic difference on policy."