The New York State Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would allow illegal immigrants in America to obtain driver’s licenses.
Should it become law, the bill would allow those residing in America illegally to use passports from other countries and other various foreign-issued documents to show their identities at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Assemblyman Robert Smullen, a Republican, expressed concern about the new law, saying it could potentially open a loophole for criminals or terrorists to obtain a license and other legal documents.
“I understand the chances of a terrorist invading our security measures are slim, and we would desirably want them to be so to not have a repeat of September 11,” Smullen stated. “But I’m really concerned we are going to create a new avenue for someone to evade the law and obtain other legal documents.”
In a statement this month, the bipartisan state Association of County Clerks revealed its opposition to the bill.
“County level DMVs have not been required to verify foreign documents in the past as this is currently a federal function, most commonly done during the working visa process,” said Judith Hunter, president of the clerks’ association.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, also a Republican, said the bill does not take into account those who want “to do us harm.”
“We have to be mindful of those who also want to do us harm,” Malliotakis said. “That is something I don’t think this bill takes into account.”
Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, who is not in favor of the bill, questioned the possibility of illegal immigrants voting.
In a tweet this week, Walczyk asked what the “politically correct” term for “undocumented immigrants” would be moving forward:
If New York State gives driver's licenses to "undocumented immigrants," what then, would the politically correct term be for this group moving forward?
— Mark Walczyk (@MarkWalczyk) June 11, 2019
“If New York State gives driver’s licenses to “undocumented immigrants,” what then, would the politically correct term be for this group moving forward?” Walczyk inquired.
Once opposed to giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, Democrat presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand reversed her position since she announced her candidacy for president.
In a 2007 statement, Gillibrand said, “I do not support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.”
When asked about the matter in January, however, Gillibrand said, “I think we have to make it possible for people to provide for their families.”
She added, “We need comprehensive immigration reform. Without doing that, you’re not going to get the problem solved for the rest of the country.”
According to a Siena poll conducted in March, an estimated 61 percent of New Yorkers oppose the bill.
Twelve states, as well as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, currently allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.