Wednesday, 08 May 2019 17:39

OP ED: Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Residents Would Put Security at Risk

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OP ED: Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Residents Would Put Security at Risk dmv.ny.gov website photo

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I,Ref—Pulaski) today voiced opposition regarding a bill that if passed, would allow illegal immigrants the ability to obtain a driver’s license.

Barclay said the bill is gaining support in Albany where Democrats have control over both the Assembly and the Senate. The Governor has said he will sign it if it passes.

The bill specifies that individuals do not need a social security number (SSN) to apply for a driver’s license or non-driver ID, effectively circumventing federal protection laws. Instead, under the bill, applicants can obtain an affidavit stating they have not been issued a SSN. Currently, non-U.S. citizens can obtain drivers licenses with a valid visa, even a temporary work visa, but this bill would eliminate the requirement to show documentation from the Social Security Administration or Homeland Security, as is currently required by those applying for a license.

In addition, it prohibits the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from sharing documentation provided by applicants with law enforcement agencies, including Border Patrol. If the bill is signed into law, the only way law enforcement can obtain records on an individual from the DMV is through a court order.

The bill precludes any documents provided to the DMV from being used as evidence of a person’s citizenship or immigration status or from being the basis for investigating, arresting or detaining a person. This prohibition would impact law enforcement that regularly check license plates and registrations of drivers at traffic stops. The legislation also states that these regulations must allow DMV to accept government identification issued by a foreign government as proof of age and identity.

“There are many troubling aspects to this legislation. First of all, by limiting the investigatory powers of law enforcement, this puts the general public at risk. It also lacks necessary safeguards to ensure a person is who they say they are which raises national security concerns,” said Barclay. “Further, this bill shows a general disregard for all of the immigrants who have legally obtained citizenship in the U.S.”

The bill, A3675, is currently in the transportation committee of the Assembly and has more than 60 Democratic sponsors. Barclay said he plans to vote against this measure if it comes to the floor for a vote.

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