March 18, 2019. In this op-ed featured on Syracuse.com, the author discusses the efforts of advocates that are urging the governor to support “Green Light NY: Driving Together,” a campaign advocating for equal access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. The author argues that undocumented immigrants can’t access basic necessities, such as grocery shopping or taking their children to the hospital, without the fear of being separated from their family or being deported, undocumented women can’t escape domestic abuse, and rural workers are more vulnerable to exploitation. The author goes on to argue that providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants would strengthen the economy, make the roads safer and decrease care insurance premiums.
Extending access to licenses makes all of our communities safer and strengthens our economy. Licensing immigrant drivers increases the percentage of drivers on our roads who are properly licensed, informed of our traffic laws, and operating a registered, inspected and insured vehicle. Since New Mexico changed its policy in 2003, the state’s rate of uninsured motorists fell from 33 percent to under 9 percent. In New York state, this could lead to lower insurance premiums for all residents by a moderate estimate of $17 per person annually.
A new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute (“Driving Together: Benefits of Allowing All New Yorkers to Apply for Licenses,” Feb. 15, 2019) demonstrates that allowing all New Yorkers to obtain a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, would generate an estimated $57 million in annual revenue and $26 million in one-time revenue for state and local governments and transit authorities.
Here is the link to Syracuse.com.