Saland Opposes Governor‘s Attempt To Allow Illegal Immigrants To Obtain New York Drivers Licenses

Stephen M. Saland

March 26, 2009


Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today joined Senator Vincent Leibell (R,I,C - Brewster), Assembly members Marc Molinaro (R,I,C-Tivoli) and Joel Miller, (R,I-Poughkeepsie) and Dutchess County Clerk Bradford Kendall in denouncing the Governor’s change in policy to allow illegal immigrants to obtain NYS drivers licenses, despite Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 502(1) which requires a Social Security Number in order to obtain a license.

"The tragic events of September 11, 2001, of which New York was at the epicenter, taught us that we must be vigilant in order to keep our State and country safe", said Senator Saland. "The simple precaution of requiring a Social Security Number to prove one’s legal status in this country is a commonsense way of helping to prevent terrorists from obtaining one of the most routinely accepted forms of identification used in this country," Saland continued.

Dutchess County Clerk, Bradford Kendall stated, "This policy runs counter to the recommendations of the 911 Commission, recommendations that called for more stringent license requirements not weaker. I am shocked that the Governor of New York State would even consider this idea knowing that this could in all likelihood put legal driver’s licenses in the hands of future terrorists, whose goals are to bring harm to New York and to this Nation."

"The Governor chose to wait until after 9-11 to announce a policy that will unilaterally and undeniably compromise security. A drivers license is a privilege and a gateway document to access a multitude of opportunities including air travel, as demonstrated by the 9-11 terrorists. Two weeks ago we paused to remember the horrific events perpetrated by those terrorists. Who did not weep? Who did not grieve? Who will forget the nightmare of 9-11? This blatant disregard for the safety of New Yorkers cannot go unanswered," Saland continued. "I commend Senator Vincent Leibell, Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, who is considering a number of options, including holding public hearings and commencing litigation against the Governor," Saland added.