Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez plans to announce Friday that he’ll become the first in the state to support giving drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.
“I have placed a strong emphasis on road safety, which undoubtedly improves when all drivers are properly licensed, road-tested and insured, and when all vehicles are subject to inspection,” he said in a statement.
Gonzalez argued that licensed drivers are more likely to follow the law.
There is already state legislation pending and the Fiscal Policy Institute estimates 265,000 immigrants would be eligible to apply if the measure passes.
Twelve states plus the District of Columbia already allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses.
But some county clerks and law enforcement officials are opposed, arguing that the licenses provide an avenue for undocumenteds to feign citizenship or even vote.
Assembly sponsor Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) insists that’s not that case.
“What it doesn’t do …is it doesn’t give them a path to citizenship, it doesn’t give them the right to vote, and it doesn’t reward anything negative,” he said.
He said the licenses would allows families to conduct their day-to-day business, like take kids to school, and become part of their communities.
“It’s important for law enforcement to know who’s living our neighborhoods and not force these people to live in the shadows,” he added.
Gov. Cuomo has previously said he would support such licenses.
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