Essay: NY Should Pass Driver’s License Bill For Undocumented Immigrants

June 9, 2017. In this op-ed Jennifer Hirsch argues that issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants can help with economic development and provide additional revenue to help with economic struggles, such as flooding and urban blight. Hirsch goes on to argue how immigrants are not able to contribute to the local economy if they do not have transportation to local shops.

You might not think of access to driver’s licenses for our state’s estimated 775,000 undocumented immigrants as economic development. But an analysis by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer estimates it would boost statewide auto sales by 2.7 percent and lower individual auto insurance rates. The Fiscal Policy Institute projects $26 million in one-time tax revenues and $57 million in annual revenue through license and title fees and vehicle, parts and gasoline sales taxes.

The bill would ensure that drivers on our roads have been tested on our rules, provide access to insurance, and give the state more information about who lives in our midst. Twelve other states and the District of Columbia have already passed similar legislation, which does not violate the federal REAL ID act. Law enforcement officials and politicians from Dayton, Ohio, to Los Angeles see these laws as about public safety: New Mexico, for example, saw substantial declines in both traffic fatalities and uninsured motorists. Voices from across the state, from Ithaca to Buffalo, including Syracuse Mayor Kathy Miner, also support the legislation.

Here is the link to the Democrat & Chronicle.