Senator Parker Opposes Governor’s New Position On Drivers’ Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

Kevin S. Parker

March 27, 2009

Brooklyn, NY – State Senator Kevin Parker this week called Governor Spitzer’s decision to abandon his initial position in granting drivers’ licenses to undocumented aliens, "a huge disappointment. What the governor has done is to turn his back on immigrants," Senator Parker charged. "Instead of fostering a climate in which people are brought out of the shadows and into the system, the Governor is looking to hand out a scarlet letter license to immigrants which, in three years, will increase profiling."

Senator Parker also found the plan objectionable in that it has given a political victory to the republicans in the Senate. "I am on the record as saying that the republicans’ opposition is base on deep-seated anti-immigrant sentiments," he said. "And by abandoning his initial plan, the governor, has given the senate majority and his arch rival, Joe Bruno a check in the win column."

Chairman of democratic Task Force on New Americans, Senator Parker has carried the senate bill that called for the granting of licenses to undocumented immigrants for the past four years. At the onset of the policy change, he was one of the most vocal supporters. He was resolute in his defense of the former plan and gracious in his applause for the governor position. "When Governor Spitzer first announced the plan in late September, I stood up and applauded him and continued to stand in his corner even when he was under attack by the republicans and the public," Parker said. "But then, once again, the governor chose to go on a different course of action without engaging in meaningful discussion with stakeholders like other lawmakers and advocacy groups who supported his plan. In my opinion, to now remain quiet is to show a lack of leadership."

Reiterating is earlier position in supporting the measure, Senator Parker said: "The xenophobes in this country are too eager to close their eyes to the important role that immigrants play in building the economies of our city, villages and states."Undocumented immigrant workers are the backbone that 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. "Despite what the critics say, I am convinced that their presence in this country has been far from detrimental."