Groups pushing for licenses for undocumented immigrants

NY Capitol News

Undocumented immigrants face many hurdles living in the states, one of which is access to a drivers license.

Groups from across the state gathered at the Capitol to push for legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a drivers license.

Through the use of an interpreter, people shared their struggles of trying to live without a license. Natasha Cid’s son, for example, fell sick and ran into problems at several different clinics.

“They always ask us for a drivers license. My question is why a drivers license? I have the money to pay you, I’m showing you my passport. And the people attending told us that’s not good enough,” Cid, speaking through an interpreter, said.

Throughout the process, Cid was not given updates on her son’s condition until eventually, he passed away.

“We pay taxes. We are a Latino community with a lot of dreams and we are workers.”

Cid is one of many the group says that needs a drivers license to take their children or neighbors to the hospital, school or work.

“We want every resident of our state to have access to a drivers license. We’re talking about farm workers, we’re talking about men and women who work in almost every industry,” Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) said.

According to the bill, allowing the undocumented to receive a drivers license would generate around 57 million dollars in registration fees and gas taxes.

Critics of the bill say that a drivers license would give these immigrants a back door to immigration. Assemblymembers argue that this is just providing a basic service.

“Literally just trying to do what’s right. Go to church, go to the doctor, go to school, go to work. People are denying them that access,” Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) said.

Right now, 12 states and Washington D.C. have laws that allow for undocumented immigrants to apply for a drivers license.

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Empire State Weekly

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