Immigrants and activists get together in one voice. They demonstrated in Albany, home of the New York Government, to pass the bill to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants throughout the state, regardless of their immigration status.
Silvia García lives on Long Island and is a member of the pro-immigrant organization Make the Road New York. She considers necessary the approval of this project, since in the state there are areas where driving becomes the only option.
“We can’t count on transportation to get to work or take our children to their medical appointments,” Garcia said, while affirming that immigrants in New York have waited a long time for the state legislature to take action on this issue.
In 2002, Governor George Pataki imposed a requirement to have a social security document in order to obtain or keep a driver’s license, which caused thousands of immigrants to lose a permit that made it easier for them to carry out their daily activities.
The bill was presented by Assemblymember Marco Crespo and Senator Luis Sepulveda, and is waiting for the support of the legislative chambers, whose session ends in mid-June. There is no date to vote yet and Governor Andrew Cuomo has not asked it to be included in the agenda, according to EFE news agency.
Crespo believes that the time to restore the privilege of driving to non-citizen residents “is now. “This legislation will make the roads safer for all New Yorkers. It will also significantly increase revenue for our state and reduce the cost of car insurance for all drivers.
Meanwhile, Sepulveda said that undocumented immigrants contribute more than one billion dollars a year to the state’s economy, so if this bill is approved, that amount will favor the creation of more jobs, better salaries and millions of dollars in local and state income.
Recently, Governor Cuomo expressed his support for this project, which according to projections by the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), it would benefit some 250,000 immigrants. So did Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for the positive impact it would have on road safety, as licensed drivers drive “with proper testing and insurance.”
New York, Oregon, Wisconsin and New Jersey could join twelve other states that already offer driver’s licenses to migrants, as has been done in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
Translated by: José Espinoza