Senator Steve Saland Reacts To Governor's Decision To Back Down From His Plan To Allow Illegal Immigrants To Obtain Drivers Licenses

Stephen M. Saland

November 14, 2007

Governor Spitzer today announced he has abandoned his plan to discontinue the need for a Social Security Number to obtain a drivers license, which would have allowed thousands of illegal immigrants to obtain New York drivers licenses. He has finally acknowledged that a large majority of New Yorkers vehemently disagreed with his plan.

As I said when he first announced this ill advised plan, 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. New York was at the epicenter of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and that horrific day taught us that we must be vigilant to keep our State and country safe.

In October, I e-mailed a number of my constituents and asked them to go to my website to answer one question: "Do you support Governor Spitzer’s plan to grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants?" To date, 954 of my constituents have responded -- 854 or 87% answered NO, 111 or 12% answered YES and the remainder were UNSURE. Other polls across the State have also demonstrated that the vast majority of New Yorkers agree that the Governor overstepped his bounds on this issue.

The Governor has finally listened to the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and reversed this ill conceived decision that could have had a devastating effect on the security of New York.