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.
‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest
CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."
Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."
Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra
"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.
Wednesday, Republicans stormed a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), because they seemed to misunderstand the difference between a deposition and a hearing. In Congressional hearings, witnesses will be presented for members of the committee to question. In a classified deposition, the witness can give information that is considered classified for security reasons. Oddly, some members who are allowed in the room were also protesting.
WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado
CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.
"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."