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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NY GOVERNOR TO REVERSE COURSE AND ALLOW ALL RESIDENTS TO PURSUE DRIVERS LICENSES

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The New York Post is reporting that Governor Elliot Spitzer will announce a reversal of NY policy and allow all residents, regardless of legal status, to apply for a drivers license. This will be accomplished through removing the requirement to have a social security number. Other identification documents, such as a valid foreign passport, will still be required.



This is a major smack in the face of the movement of anti-immigrants to force states, localities and employers to do DHS' immigration enforcement job. This also represents a major setback for efforts to keep REAL ID from being implemented. The measure would bar use of a state's drivers license for federal purposes if the license does not comply with REAL ID's immigration checking requirements. It seems pretty unlikely that the statute will be put in to force if every NY resident would be barred.

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  1. TX's Avatar
    "The measure would bar use of a state's drivers license for federal purposes if the license does not comply with REAL ID's immigration checking requirements. It seems pretty unlikely that the statute will be put in to force if every NY resident would be barred."

    Greg, would'nt this require a reversal of Real ID, or a bill to halt it's implementation? What do you think the chances are of Congress passing a law getting rid of real ID? Without such Bill I don't think there's a question about what will happen, indeed the drivers license will be invalid for federal purposes don't you think?
  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    There have already been serious efforts to kill REAL ID's drivers license provisions and some of the libertarian GOP members have been the surprising leaders of the effort. I'd say this could be the beginning of the end of that law.

    If the federal government wants to play hardball, it's going to get ugly.
  3. Another voice's Avatar
    Hopefully Real Id act can go away and the drivers license initiative could spread to other states. I like governor Spitzer good guy.
  4. grouchy's Avatar
    Even for the undocumented aliens?
    Greg in your own point of view do you think Spitzer's proposal would be good enough to make NY state a safer place? What made him sure that this would not create problems in the future?
    I would say that the chances of this proposal would only give further detrimental effects on people's safety.
    I'm not really sure about its positive gains on safety matters.
  5. TX's Avatar
    grouchy, what does providing a drivers license have to do with safety??

    Please don't tell me that you fell for the argument that if we had allowed only legal residents to get a license, that 911 would not have happened. The terrorist on 911 all came here on a legal visa and obtained a license by showing that visa.

    It would be unsafe if you did not allow the undocumented to get a license because they would drive without one anyway.
  6. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I think everyone forgets why we have drivers licenses in the first place - to ensure driver safety. Because in most parts of the country, public transportation is virtually useless, people will drive. And it's better to ensure that they are driving safely and schooled in the rules of the road. If you want a national ID card, be brave enough to call for that rather than trying to hijack other programs with other purposes like the drivers licenses or the social security program.
  7. grouchy's Avatar
    TX, thanks. I got your point.
    But do you think those illegal aliens have enough courage to go out from their umbrellas to show their real identities?
    I can say that they would feel startled and have a second taught to bring out their true identities or approach to officers who are authorized to issue licenses to apply for it.
    Or the undocumented would think that this would be the first step to identify themselves once they apply for a license then later on, their names would be put on separated files of the bureau that says "Undocumented". This would be a big struggle for this proposal, heheee! just curious.
  8. USC's Avatar
    "NY GOVERNOR TO REVERSE COURSE"

    I hate to quibble, Greg but there is a point to be made. Spitzer hasn't reversed himsel because he never implemented the policy to begin with. NY under Cuomo (Democrat) never required SS numbers. Pataki (Republican) implemented the social security requirement. Now, Spitzer (Democrat) a mere 8 months after assuming office has corrected the Pataki policy and is making sure that DL don't serve as a de-facto National ID (in the 1980s NY licenses didn't even have a photo). Another conclusion that one might draw is that Democrats, in general, are more immigrant friendly.

    "indeed the drivers license will be invalid for federal purposes don't you think?"

    That's okay we don't mind.

    "What made him sure that this would not create problems in the future?
    I would say that the chances of this proposal would only give further detrimental effects on people's safety.
    I'm not really sure about its positive gains on safety matters."

    Remember, NY is the State that suffered the most on 9/11. Despite the fear-mongering from Cheney and his cronies we voted for Kerry in a huge margin in 2004. Folks from other States still think it necessary to preach to the NYS officials as to whether or not issuing a license to the illegals makes NY a more dangerous place.
  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    USC - I wouldn't disagree with your very valid points.
  10. Calouste's Avatar
    Making an SSN mandatory to get a drivers license is disciminatory against people who stay in the US on an H-4 visa, and probably a few other visa classes as well, as they can't get an SSN.

    I wonder if it would hold up in court if an H-4 visa holder sued because they can't get a drivers license because they don't have an SSN, even though they are in the country legally. Sounds rather unconstitutional to me.
  11. joe's Avatar
    Well in the nation of immigrants, i think this is a welcome step legalizing driving to undocumented immigrants. Look what happened to prohibition, people drank anyway to the detriment and legalizing did help society.

    Here undocumented immigrants that service a huge unwanted labor sector ofover 200,000 jobs in NY state would legally and safely drive as compared to illegal who drive anyway.

    Right now we have too many illegal drivers and this can create a more dangerous situation. Getting them to follow the law would help.
    Yes I agree, this ID should be restrictive.

    Should be treated like a foreign international driving license with restrictvie rights.

  12. Grouchy's Avatar
    IN my general point of view, any proposals that will be made by any branch of the government wouldn't bite or even attempt to give a bite by any undocumented faces unless, this proposal wouldn't give/ assure any green lights to bring them to a legal status in the future.
    And even officials reverse the laws that are unrelated to immigrant's legalization for a hundred times, they will not go up from their seats and put themselves in jeopardy.
    All of them are merely wiser now.
  13. Another voice's Avatar
    "But do you think those illegal aliens have enough courage to go out from their umbrellas to show their real identities?"

    As the article says they would have to provide a passport to prove who they are.

    "I can say that they would feel startled and have a second taught to bring out their true identities or approach to officers who are authorized to issue licenses to apply for it."

    These people are dying to get alicence because everyday that they go to work they know they may not come back home if they get pulled over for a simple traffic violation and who will take care of their families then.
    "Or the undocumented would think that this would be the first step to identify themselves once they apply for a license then later on, their names would be put on separated files of the bureau that says "Undocumented"."
    That would be similar to what the Nazis did to the jews in WWII mark them some how.

  14. Sid's Avatar
    The sad fact is that the majority of U.S. citizens are actually OK with the status quo w.r.t. illegal immigrants. This is the best possible scenario for them. Keep the prices low by employing illegals, make them live in fear and continue to deny them any form of legalization.
  15. grouchy's Avatar
    Another voice- somehow you are right...they are dying to have a driver's license; of course for safety of everyone on the road.
    So if they have a chance to have one, do you think their drivers licenses will save them of being illegals here? Don't you think that being identified immediately on the spot would only give narrow doors for their presence here?
    If the officers out there caught them of being a violator, we don't know what would possibly happen to them. Maybe the worst scenario that I would consider to do to them is to dig deeper to their informations(identifications). If they're not lucky enough, a chance of "deportation" would still be there chasing them all the corners- if the federal government is really serious about their campaign against them.
    Just my wild guess on the dark side of the proposal.
  16. USC's Avatar
    Signed, Sealed & Delivered:

    http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/0921071.html

  17. legal's Avatar
    This is quite useless. They most likely wouldn't be getting driver licenses anyway. The bigger problem in NYS is car insurance not licenses. It usually ranges between $1500-1800 for a very good driver. Most illegals don't have car insurance and are not going to get it. In fact, I know some low-class legal Americans who don't buy it. They get insurance for one month and then drop it, and drive a few more months before the insurance company notifies the DMV. Then rinse and repeat.
  18. USC's Avatar
    "Most illegals don't have car insurance and are not going to get it."

    If they get a license they will also get car insurance.

    "In fact, I know some low-class legal Americans who don't buy it. They get insurance for one month and then drop it, and drive a few more months before the insurance company notifies the DMV. Then rinse and repeat."

    This is another urban legend perpetrated by the antis. As the links below establish if your insurance is cancelled by the carrier, the NYS DMV is electronically notified the same day. So your claim about this taking a few months is BOGUS. In NY if you drive without insurance your license is suspended for the same number of days that you are without insurance (days the license is suspended are not capped). If you drive without a license in NYS you will be arrested if you are stopped by the NYPD.

    http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm

    http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/iies.htm

    Here is another piece of bad news for the antis:

    United States v New York

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/washington/22emergency.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1190458281-T0PeyE5rknNssl1CfneAGg

    With, Mayor Bloomberg first saying "Let them (illegals) Come", followed by Spitzer handing out licenses to the illegals and now NY going after the USA so that the illegals can receive cancer care. The antis attrition startegy appears to be toast!!
  19. beppe's Avatar
    Finally,
    a good news. I can`t believe it!
  20. 's Avatar
    >> The sad fact is that the majority of U.S. citizens are actually OK with the status quo w.r.t. illegal immigrants.

    Absolutely right. If the illegal immigrants were a burden, we'd see a US invasion of Mexico to install a better government there so fewer people come to the US. But then the US has in the past been blind to or has actively opposed action in human rights issues like in WWII or in 1971 Bangladesh.

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/morgrep.html
    http://www.gendercide.org/case_bangladesh.html
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