State Senator Kevin Parker Advocates On Behalf Of Immigrants

Kevin S. Parker

June 22, 2006

Brooklyn, NY – With only a few days remaining in the legislative session, State Senator Parker called on the Senate to pass Bill S7388, which is identical to recent legislation passed by the Assembly Transportation Committee granting drivers’ licenses to eligible immigrant residents.

The bill will allow applicants for drivers’ licenses who are state residents to present documentation in lieu of Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Acceptable forms of proof would include a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration or an official Department of Motor Vehicle form with a sworn statement stating that the applicant does not have or is ineligible for a Social Security number.

"The current provisions on obtaining drivers’ licenses are too stringent and serves to work against our goal of improved immigration policy," said Senator Parker. "I urge the Senate Majority to pass this bill and do what is fair and just for our immigrants before the end of this year’s session. By not launching into action immediately, we will once again turn our backs on a huge percentage of the people we represent as legislators."

Supporters of the bill include the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an advocacy organization that analyzes the effects of policy procedures regarding the rights of immigrants and their families. "Essentially this is an issue that will drastically affect many immigrants across the state," said Milan Bhatt, Policy Associate for the New York Immigration Coalition. "This legislation will protect the rights of New York residents to be able to drive, go to work, pick their children up from school, or even open a bank account."

As session draws to a close, the debate continues over comprehensive immigration reform. "This bill would affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been denied licenses by the DMV’s current policy," said Senator Parker. "It is pertinent that the entire Senate, full Assembly, and the Senate Rules Committee follow suit to pass this important piece of legislation."