Senator Gallivan Joins Colleagues in Opposition to Green Light Bill

Measure Would Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Driver's Licenses

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) members of the New York State Senate Republican Conference today in standing up for the majority of New Yorkers who vehemently oppose the state issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The legislation, moving through the Senate and Assembly, would permit undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses using forms of foreign identification, leaving county clerks and employees at local Departments of Motor Vehicles unable to truly verify authenticity.

The New York Association of County Clerks opposes the legislation since they cannot vet documents from other countries. This unfunded mandate would also leave counties to pick up the tab for hiring employees to deal with an influx of applicants as well.

“Privileges, including driver’s licenses, should not be extended to individuals who are in our country unlawfully,” Senator Gallivan said.  “This legislation is far too broad and is an affront to law-abiding citizens. It not only has the potential to jeopardize public safety, it forces yet another unfunded mandate on local governments.”       

Over two-thirds of states do not allow undocumented immigrants to drive at all, and for good reason. Many states use their DMVs to enroll voters, and New York does as well creating new concerns here over voter fraud. New York does not have any voter identification laws, unlike 35 other states.

The handful of states that permit undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses require substantially tighter proof of identification and may impose limitations on driving to incentivize naturalization.

While advocates claim that states freely grant licenses to undocumented immigrants, that claim is patently false. For example, Utah only allows undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses for a period of one-year; the District of Columbia offers limited purpose licenses; Connecticut requires that an applicant file for citizenship; and many remaining states require a tax identification number, tax returns or proof that an undocumented immigrant has become the dependent of a state taxpayer.

None of those states solely relies on foreign documents for identification purposes.

The New York Green Light bill does none of those things and creates a disincentive to naturalization when coupled with other initiatives passed this year, like free college tuition for undocumented immigrants.

It also does nothing, as advocates claim, to insure that a motorist remains at the scene of a serious accident if it could involve a potential felony charge, which could mean deportation, and that individual could still choose to flee.