Brooklyn, NY – Saying that "this is good news for all drivers as well as the State’s economy," State Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) applauded Governor Spitzer’s announcement to make drivers’ licenses available to more New Yorkers including undocumented immigrants. "This is a huge move for the community and Governor Spitzer should be congratulated for making it happen," said Senator Parker.
"The legislation which brought about the administrative policy change in the Department of Motor Vehicles which then required applicants for a driver’s license to submit proof of legal residency in the United States disrupted the lives of many families," said Senator Parker. "In addition, it cast undocumented immigrants trying to make a better live for themselves in a negative light."
Accentuating the positive effects of this policy change, Senator Parker said that it will lower the high rate of uninsured and unlicensed drivers on our streets. (The DMV estimates that there are currently 50,000 uninsured and unlicensed drivers on New York’s roads, contributing to increased accidents and hit-and-run accidents). "This then contributes to increased public safety and therefore lower insurance rates for all drivers," Senator Parker said.
Another benefit of this change Parker said, is its ability to drive people out of the shadows and into the system. "I have always advocated the benefits of having people with valid IDs as part of the public records," he said.
The Brooklyn lawmaker, who chairs the Senate Democratic Task Force on New Americans, added that the presence of undocumented immigrants in this country has been far from detrimental despite what critics have advanced.
"Despite what opponents say, immigrants play an important role the economies of our cities, towns and villages. Undocumented immigrant workers are the backbone that of keep our economy running on a daily basis in key industries from agriculture and maintenance services to construction. As such we want them to be safe drivers, learn the laws of the road and obtain insurance," Senator Parker said.
Under the measures announced by Governor Spitzer, applicants will have the option of using a valid foreign passport in lieu of a social security or tax identification number. In addition, there are 14 possible other documents that can be use to make up the standard 6-point proof of identification required by the DMV.
Even though the process of application has been liberalized, the Governor ensured that no effort will be spared to make the system more secure. New security enhancements that will be introduced include document verification technology and photo comparison tools.