New York Approves Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Illegal immigrants to the United States will be able to obtain driver’s licenses in New York under a bill passed by the state legislature on Monday and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York will become the 13th state to authorize driver’s licenses for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally.

The state Senate in Albany voted 33-29 to approve the legislation, which previously passed in the Assembly. Democrats control both chambers of the legislature.

Cuomo’s support appeared in doubt Monday after he voiced concerns that U.S. immigration officials could use state license information to target immigrants for deportation. He asked for a legal review by the office of Attorney General Letitia James, who responded saying she supports the bill but wouldn’t speculate on the federal response.

But the New York state attorney general has declared the bill had safeguards against that, Cuomo’s legal counsel, Alphonso David, said in a statement.

Cuomo signed the bill on Monday night, his spokesman Peter Ajemian said in an email. It will take effect before the end of the year, according to the text of the measure.

New York state Senator Luis Sepúlveda, the measure’s Democratic sponsor, said in a statement it will benefit the children of illegal immigrants by allowing their parents to drive them to school.

“In a time when immigrants’ rights and livelihoods are being severely threatened, the Green Light Bill is a clear message that we New Yorkers will always choose to lead with courage and love and to fight for everyone’s right to the American Dream,” Sepúlveda said.

He also said it will improve safety on the roads.


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