Driving While Undocumented, and Facing the Risks

July 18, 2017. This article discusses the risk of deportation that undocumented immigrants face when driving a vehicle because they can’t obtain driver’s licenses in New York. The risk is now even higher under the Trump administration due to aggressive immigration enforcement. This article discusses how routine traffic stops have increased and led to the deportation of undocumented immigrants, even in emergencies, such as getting medicine for a sick daughter.  The article goes on to discuss how some do not support allowing undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses because it is reserved for those here legally and others do because it is a matter of public safety.

Under a Trump administration that has taken an aggressive stance on illegal immigration, the moving car has become an easy target. A broken headlight, a seatbelt not worn, a child not in a car seat may be minor traffic violations, but for unauthorized immigrants, they can have life-altering consequences.

Routine traffic stops have always carried the threat of deportation, but during the last years of the Obama administration, when serious crimes were prioritized, the stops that simply revealed unlawful status often resulted in deferment. No longer.

According to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, more than 752,000 undocumented immigrants would be eligible for driver’s licenses in New York State, and of that number, roughly 265,000 would apply. Taxes and fees could assist the annual economy in counties and the state by $57 million, the report showed.

Here is the link to The New York Times.