Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today announced passage of legislation that he sponsored to stop Governor Eliot Spitzer's policy change allowing those in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses. The legislation, which Senator Flanagan worked on with Senator Frank Padavan (11th Senate District), would require applicants for a New York State driver's license or non-driver identification card to supply either a social security card or proof of authorized presence in the United States.
The legislation would require those who are unable to provide a valid social security card to prove that they are ineligible for a social security card and provide satisfactory proof that they are legally authorized to be in the United States.
The documentation regarding legal status in the country must include valid documentary evidence from the necessary state or federal agency. This documentation, according to the legislation, must prove that the person is a citizen of the United States or that their presence in the country is legal.
Also, since licenses are valid for an eight-year period, the legislation that Senator Flanagan sponsored also specifies that anyone who is in this country for a specific period of time shall be provided with a license that expires when their legal standing in the country does. If a person's stay has no definite period of legal status but will eventually expire, they will be issued identification that will last for one year.
This will ensure that those who are in the United States temporarily are unable to receive identifications that outlast their legal visit.
Also, any temporary license or identification card will be clearly marked as temporary and will have its expiration date clearly displayed.
"If the Spitzer administration is going to implement a change this significant, it is up to the legislature to act if there are concerns. This policy is too open to fraud and security lapses to allow it move forward and today's legislation is aimed at bringing back common sense. The burden is clearly on the administration to prove how their change is good for our residents and, until that time, we must put the safety of our residents first," stated Senator Flanagan.
Senator Flanagan has been outspoken in his opposition to providing driver's licenses and non-driver identifications to those in the country illegally. In June, he sponsored and gained Senate passage of legislation that would have strengthened the identification requirements for obtaining driver's licenses and permanently established this important regulation in state law. The legislation was delivered to the Assembly but no action was taken.
Today's legislation passed the Senate and has been delivered to the Assembly for action.
"The governor's policy change was put in place without any public debate or public vote and, on an issue this important, that is an unacceptable way to govern" stated Senator Flanagan. "Millions of New York residents have stated that they are opposed to this policy and today's vote will let them know that their voice is vital to the process and that their opinion will not be ignored. This is a policy that weakens our collective security and I am hopeful that the Assembly will join us in voicing the people's opinion that this is wrong for our state."
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