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Undocumented Immigrants in New York Will Have Right to Obtain Driver's Licenses

Undocumented Immigrants in New York Will Have Right to Obtain Driver's Licenses

On Monday, June 17, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Green Light Bill, which gives undocumented immigrants the right to get a New York driver’s license. When the law comes into effect in December of 2019, New York will be the 13th state to allow individuals who aren’t in the U.S. legally to obtain a state driver’s license.

Controversy Surrounding the Bill

Although the measure received both Assembly and Senate approval, its passing did not come without controversy. Over 50% of New Yorkers polled by Sienna College stated that they did not feel undocumented immigrants should have the right to receive a driver’s license. Critics argued that it would be difficult to vet foreign forms of identification, which will be required when an individual goes in to apply for their driver’s license. Others asserted that there are various grey areas in the law, which could potentially lead to issues such as illegal voting.

However, proponents said the new law would increase public safety, as undocumented individuals will have to abide by the same rules as citizens to get their driver’s licenses. The individual must pass a written and road test and will be required to obtain auto insurance.

Federal Access to DMV Records Restricted

Before signing the measure, Cuomo asked the solicitor general to review the bill and ensure it would not allow the federal government to access the DMV’s information on undocumented immigrants who apply for a driver’s license. Under the new law, if officials from agencies such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement want an applicant’s information, they must first obtain a court order. If the federal government does get permission to access records, the DMV must notify the individual within 3 days of the request.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Team at Musa-Obregon Law PC

Our lawyers are dedicated to helping individuals achieve their immigration goals in the U.S. If you are interested in obtaining a New York driver’s license, our team will help you understand your rights under the new law.

For dedicated and compassionate legal counsel, call us at (888) 502-8461 or contact us online.


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