We have nothing against legal immigrants getting driver’s licenses, especially in our borough, the most ethnically diverse in the nation. Our country was built by immigrants who, through hard work and determination, become citizens and earn the rights and privileges of our country - including driving!New York State is home to between 500,000 and a million illegal immigrants who presently cannot obtain driver’s licenses.
Governor Eliot Spitzer announced on Friday, September 21 that by the fall of 2008, illegal immigrants will be able to obtain driver’s licenses in New York.
Under Spitzer’s plan, immigrants will only have to check a box on their application stating their ineligibility for a Social Security Number and may provide foreign passports and other valid documents to prove their identity.
The bad news here is that his change of policy does not require legislative approval! Our elected officials cannot even say no for us!
We disagree with the governor when he states, “DMV (The Department of Motor Vehicles) is not the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service),” because the issue is far more complex than to be all tied up in a cute sound bite.
In the very next statement Spitzer then claims that his plan will strengthen homeland security by providing law enforcement with a means to track thousands of illegal immigrants. Now we understand - the DMV will be working for homeland security and not the INS.
The DMV, according to the governor, will be enacting new security measures to verify that immigrants are providing legitimate documents. Identification requirements will become more stringent, and new personnel will be trained to verify foreign documents. Additionally, the DMV will install photo comparison technology to prevent applicants from obtaining more than one license under different names.
Spitzer points to increased public safety by ensuring that the vast majority of drivers have passed driver’s tests. Doesn’t everybody who has a license in this state have to pass a test here or at least have a valid license from another state if they move here?
The State Department of Insurance says that insurance rates will go down with fewer uninsured motorists on the road, dropping by 34 percent or $120 million a year in savings for all drivers. Why would licensing illegal immigrants drop our rates by 34 percent? They should not be driving without licenses anyway.
A driver’s license is now the most often accepted and most powerful piece of personal identification in the country. We agree with State Senator Frank Padavan who said, “All the individuals involved in 9/11 were running around with driver’s licenses which they used for all kinds of things - enrolling in flight schools, opening [bank] accounts, you name it.”
We say stop this policy before it is too late and before the governor has equipped potential terrorist(s) with the means to attack us again!