Senator Serrano Critical Of Anti-immigrant Legislation

José M. Serrano

June 22, 2005

Saying "we will never address the concerns of fraudulent driver’s licenses as long as the Senate Majority continues to create laws based on fear and paranoia," State Senator José M. Serrano (D-Bronx/Manhattan) today criticized the passage of Senate Bill 407, legislation that would require applicants for driver’s licenses or non-driver identification cards to prove that their presence in the United States is authorized.

"Time and again, members of the Majority mentioned the tragic events of 9/11 during debate on this bill as an excuse to attack our nation’s immigrants. It is truly a sad reflection on our democracy when we defame and castigate immigrants, the overwhelming majority of whom have come to this country simply to make a better life for themselves and their families," Senator Serrano said.

The New York City lawmaker noted that the role undocumented immigrants play in our economy on a daily basis cannot be underestimated.

"We need to put an end to the stereotype that immigrants are here only to be a burden on our society. These are hard working individuals in the same tradition as those who came from other lands decades and centuries ago. Immigrants are here to achieve the American dream, not to be stigmatized as terrorists and criminals.

"Working immigrants stand as a crucial pillar in the foundation of our nation’s economy. To place unneeded barriers in front of them is positively un-American. "This bill is yet another attempt to erode the rights of immigrants," Senator Serrano said, adding that undocumented immigrants are working not only in New York City, but in the suburbs and throughout Upstate.

"If we truly want to get serious about the issue of fraudulent driver’s licenses, let’s get past the ridiculous scare tactics and take the time to craft meaningful legislation that will actually address the problem," Senator Serrano concluded.