Several New York politicians are pushing to allow undocumented immigrants to legally apply for driver’s licenses.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” said state Sen. José Peralta who, along with Sen. Adriano Espaillat and community groups, such as Make The Road New York, introduced legislation last October to provide access to licenses to undocumented New Yorkers.
According to The New York Daily News, although the legislation was not on the original list of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Conference priorities for 2014, Peralta says he was reassured his bill would be added to the list.
“It will probably pass as soon as January,” he said. “In moving out of the shadows and into the economic mainstream, immigrants will be less isolated and less vulnerable to predators and their scams.”
This legislation follows a trend throughout the United States. The number of states taking similar steps has jumped from three to 11, reports The New York Daily News.
Many politicians pointing to statistics as the basis for reforming the law. Unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, and uninsured drivers are far more likely to flee the scene of an accident.
Peralta’s bill will help solve this problem — permitting the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants able to provide non-U.S. identification, prove residence in the state, and demonstrate they have no been convicted of a felony crime.
“The legislation will also help make all New Yorkers safer by allowing us to identify everyone who drives on our roads and ensure that they are properly credentialed, educated, and operating registered, inspected, and insured vehicles,” Peralta said.
Earlier this year, California’s governor signed a bill to allow undocumented immigrants in the state to obtain driver’s licenses.
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