February 15, 2019. This article discusses the New York’s City Council’s efforts to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses, through passing a resolution. The author highlights the testimonies of many undocumented immigrants who talk about the fear that they have when driving because they face possible arrest and deportation if they get pulled over. However, undocumented immigrants have to drive in order to obtain basic necessities, take their children to school, go to the hospital and for other daily activities. The report also highlights FPI’s new report that estimates the economic benefits to New York State if undocumented immigrants were allowed to apply for driver’s licenses, regardless of immigration status.
The City Council passed a resolution Wednesday declaring its support for a plan to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license regardless of their immigration status. The council also called for state legislation.
“Si se puede – Yes we can,” shouted a group of immigrants, advocates and council members from the steps of City Hall, after their victory vote in the morning meeting of the Committee on Immigration. Later, the resolution was passed again by a full council vote.
Driving daily for work or daily activities without a license and a registered vehicle, undocumented immigrants are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to licensed drivers, according to the American Automobile Association. They are also at risk of arrest and deportation.
The bill is seen not only as a means to enhance road safety and accountability, but is expected to generate more money for the state; up to $57 million in annual state revenue and $26 million in one-time revenue through taxes and fees. Auto insurance premiums for all New Yorkers are also expected to go down by a moderate estimate of $17 per person each year, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Here is the link to the NY City Lens.