Sen. Peralta Bill Would Give Undocumented Immigrants Access to Driver’s Licenses

State Senator Jose Peralta introduced legislation to provide undocumented immigrant New Yorkers access to driver’s licenses.  He said that, if enacted, the bill will bring the undocumented into the economic mainstream and improve safety on New York roads.

In introducing the bill, Sen. Peralta noted that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and that uninsured drivers are far more likely to flee the scene of an accident.  He added that undocumented immigrants are disproportionately victims of exploitation and fraud.

“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” Sen. Peralta said.  “In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, they will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams. This legislation  will also help make all New Yorkers safer by allowing us to identify everyone who drives on our roads and ensure that they are properly credentialed, educated and operating registered, inspected and insured vehicles.”

Sen. Peralta’s bill will permit the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants able to provide non-U.S. identification, prove residence in the state and demonstrate they have not been convicted of a felony crime. 

The senate sponsor of the state DREAM Act, Sen. Peralta said he is looking forward to the development during the upcoming legislative session of “a bipartisan response” to the question of integrating New Americans and giving them a chance to succeed and realize the American Dream. 

Eleven states already allow undocumented immigrants to secure a driver’s license.