Currently twelve states and two territories have expanded access to driver’s licenses to motorists regardless of immigration status. However, New York bars over 800,000 undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses. I join with elected leaders from across New York and the country who have recognized that providing access to driver’s licenses is an important matter of public safety, community integration, and economic growth that will strengthen New York communities. Licensing undocumented immigrant drivers ensures that they are properly licensed, informed of traffic laws, and operating a registered, inspected and insured vehicle, which is not possible now. Allowing access will build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. With proper and legal identification, witnesses and victims of crimes will more readily report and cooperate with police. Police will be able to use licenses to verify the identity of motorists during stops and review their traffic records. Other first responders and healthcare providers will be able to identify the individuals they assist. ACCESS TO DRIVER’S LICENSES IS GOOD COMMUNITY INTEGRATION POLICYWhere robust public transportation is lacking, access to driver’s licenses is essential to meeting basic daily needs and participating in community life. Expanding access to driver’s licenses will allow undocumented immigrants to drive to work, worship, and the doctor. Parents’ will be able to show identification to visit their child’s school and safely take their family to worship. With State issued identification, unbanked immigrant New Yorkers will have the opportunity to financially integrate and build their family’s savings and economic security. ACCESS TO DRIVER’S LICENSES IS GOOD ECONOMIC POLICYAllowing access to driver’s licenses will help lower insurance premiums for all residents and save New York motorists millions of dollars a year. In addition, New York State and county governments will receive $57 million dollars in combined annual revenue, which will allow the expanded program to pay for itself. New York State’s economy will receive a boost as consumers and workers gain increased mobility and reach better job opportunities. Once again I urge you to give a green light to driver's license legislation for undocumented immigrants in our state!
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