The New York State Senate today passed the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, also known as Green Light NY, which allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue standard driver's licenses to undocumented immigrant New Yorkers. Prior to 2001, all New Yorkers had access to driver's licenses, regardless of immigration status. If the legislation is signed into law, New York would join 12 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in providing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. The legislation (S1747) is sponsored by Senator Luis R. Sepulveda and co-sponsored by Senator José M. Serrano. The bill previously passed the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assembly Member Marcos Crespo.
"As a longtime advocate for driver's licences for immigrants, I am thrilled that today's vote ensures that immigrant New Yorkers can obtain driver's licences and be informed of our traffic laws- making New York's roads safer for everyone. Allowing immigrants access to licenses will not only protect families throughout the state and lower insurance rates, it will also boost our economy by generating more than $50 million in annual revenue through taxes and fees. Access to driver's licenses will ensure that these hardworking New Yorkers can drive to work, school, medical appointments, and in emergency situations- providing them easier access to services without fear of arrest or deportation. Restoring the privilege to drive will foster trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement, making them more likely to report crimes and cooperate with police, as well as encouraging them to be active participants in civic and community life. This country was built in large part by immigrants who came here to work and seek a better life for themselves and their families. At a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric is spread across the country, we are taking steps to ensure that the American Dream is alive and well for everyone. Many thanks to Senator Sepulveda and Assembly Member Crespo for their commitment to immigrant communities in New York."