January 18, 2019. In this op-ed, the author discusses the news that came out of a discussion between Sullivan County Clerk Dan Briggs and the New York State legislature which is that a bill for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants is likely to pass this year. The author highlights the views of critics and advocates. Advocates support a bill for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants because it would promote safer roads and prevent families from being separated when an unlicensed undocumented driver is pulled over while trying to bring their children to school or doing other daily activities. Critics do not support the bill because they claim it is a way to get undocumented immigrants to vote and that it is not fair to New York taxpayers.

During a discussion between Briggs and the legislature on January 10, however, the news that prompted the biggest response was when Briggs explained that the New York State Legislature this year is likely to pass legislation that will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive state-issued drivers’ licenses. The details of how the legislation will work have not yet been worked out, but 12 other states, and also the District of Columbia, already issue such licenses.

Another claim critics make is that granting drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants is not fair to the men and women who immigrated to this country legally, nor is it fair to New York taxpayers.

But an analysis from the Fiscal Policy Institute (http://bit.ly/TRREditorial) says taxpayers would actually be better off if many of the 800,000 undocumented immigrants in the state were allowed to get a license, buy a car and insurance. “The Fiscal Policy analysis projects that revenues from expanding access to drivers’ licenses would more than cover expenses to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and would generate some modest additional revenues for public transportation authorities and county governments.

The institute predicts that more people buying cars and getting licenses would add up to roughly $57 million in combined annual government revenues, plus $26 million in one-time revenues overall, with $24 million of that going to the state government. This includes $7.3 million in new projected revenues from vehicle license plates and title fees.

Here is the link to The River Reporter.