New York State Monday passed a law allowing undocumented migrants to obtain their driving license, a controversial move by the Democratic stronghold intended to thwart the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policy.
“This legislation will not only provide undocumented immigrants with a legal solution to obtain a driver’s license, but its positive impacts will include significant economic growth, improved road safety, and it will keep hardworking families together,” Senator Luis Sepulveda, one of its leading proponents, said in a statement.
“In a time when immigrants are being scapegoated for every ill in our country, this is our opportunity for New York State to show our courage and strength, and stand up for the marginalized communities,” said Sepulveda, who represents the Bronx district of New York.
In practice, the “Green Light Bill,” passed by the New York Senate last week and signed into law Monday night by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives everyone the right to a driver’s license if they pass the test, regardless of immigration status.
Candidates will no longer need to present a US Social Security number or a visa, as had been the case since 2001, and will be able to simply present a valid passport or a foreign driver’s license as ID.
Several provisions of the bill, welcomed by migrants’ rights associations, also prohibit communication of the candidate’s data to the immigration authorities, except at the express request of a judge.
The bill was hotly debated, and passed in both houses of the state senate, which have been controlled by the Democrats since January, by a narrow majority.
Republican Senator Jim Tedisco said passage of the bill “sends wrong message that citizenship and rule of law don’t matter.”
“If we don’t adhere to a legal system for becoming a citizen, NYS will become a magnet for those here illegally,” he said on Twitter.
President Donald Trump has made the fight against illegal immigration a priority for his administration.
Trump tweeted Monday that the United States would start removing “millions” of illegal migrants next week.
The US is facing a surge in migrant arrivals from Guatemala and other impoverished Central American countries which are plagued by gang violence.
New York is the 13th state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driving licenses.
A report in February said if such a law was passed in New York, more than 400,000 illegal immigrants could get the permit.
The racist Republican Party must be ‘utterly confronted and destroyed’: Chris Hayes
On Thursday evening, MSNBC's Chris Hayes tore into the Republican Party for accepting and legitimizing the racism of President Donald Trump and his supporters.
"'Send Her Back.' The darkest, ugliest impulses that a political movement can cultivate on full unapologetic display," said Hayes. "That's what Donald Trump has been cultivating all along. Whether the Republican Party likes it or not, it stands for it now. Most of us across the ideological spectrum feel, viscerally, a kind of moral revulsion when we hear and see an angry mob braying 'Send Her Back' about a fellow American. But the reaction from Republicans today was basically a foregone conclusion."
Trump ‘leads a domestic hate movement’ — and the world is watching in shock: WaPo columnist
President Donald Trump's racism is shocking the entire globe, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent wrote in a Thursday column.
"One of the most chilling things about President Trump’s hate-rally in North Carolina — which devolved into chants of “send her back,” directed at a nonwhite immigrant member of Congress — was the profusion of tweets about it from abroad," Sargent reported.
"As the president of the United States leads a domestic hate movement, the world is watching," he explained.
Trump might ‘already be in prison’ if not for the DOJ policy: national security lawyer
On Thursday, newly unsealed documents showed that FBI agents believed President Donald Trump was personally involved in the illegal scheme to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an affair she had with him ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Furthermore, the Office of Legal Counsel memo prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president reportedly "factored into" the end of the probe.