March 13, 2019. In this op-ed by, featured in the New York Daily News, the author discusses her personal and other undocumented youth in the United States experiences of not having access to driver’s licenses. The author argues that undocumented youth have parents who can’t take them to school or doctors appointments, and that they themselves struggle to get jobs because they can’t drive to work. This struggle has increased since the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The author goes on to argue that they struggle to find reliable transportation for daily tasks and live in fear that their family members may be deported for driving without a license because they need to.
Many hardworking, ambitious individuals who want to give back to their communities, help support their families and find dependable careers are denied opportunities solely on the basis of their immigration status and inability to obtain a license. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, granting access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants would increase access to economic mobility for 265,000 New Yorkers and bring in more than $57 million dollars in revenues to the state. It would also make roads safer by ensuring that all drivers are properly licensed and operate a registered, inspected and insured vehicle.
If Cuomo and the Legislature are serious about empowering undocumented youth and defending immigrants from Trump’s relentless attacks, then they need to recognize that the structural barriers immigrants face extend far beyond the walls of the college classroom. They need to use their power to adopt a progressive suite of policies that will uplift the boundless potential of our immigrant communities.
Click here for the New York Daily News.