New York OKs driving licenses for undocumented migrants

A pot-smoking businessman

The bill was hotly debated, and passed in both houses of the state senate, which have been controlled by the Democrats since January, by a narrow majority.

Cuomo, who has said he is a staunch supporter of the bill, on Monday surprised lawmakers and said he would only sign it if the state solicitor general felt there were enough protections to prevent federal immigration authorities from accessing immigrants' data through the DMV database.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo smile at the end of an event to discuss reproductive rights at Barnard College, Jan. 7, 2019 in New York City.

Although the bill has been signed into law, it does not have wide support among New Yorkers.

In response, attorney general Tish James released a statement assuring Cuomo and the public that the bill would not be used to help enforce immigration law.

Illegal immigrants can now obtain a driver's license in NY.

'If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it....'

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"The legislation is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver's licenses", James said in a statement.

Immigration-rights activists praised the legislation as a step toward affirming the humanity of illegal immigrants.

NY will become the 13th state to allow licenses for illegal immigrants after Democrat state Senators passed legislation Monday allowing illegal immigrants to gain access to driver's licenses in the state.

Twelve states plus the District of Columbia have similar laws. "The key to this bill is not the political intent but the legal effect". NY joins 12 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing illegal immigrants to drive, and New Jersey is now considering a similar measure. "We hope the attorney general's assessment is correct for the safety of the thousands of undocumented individuals who are relying on her legal opinion", Alphonso David, the counsel to the governor, said in a statement. Applicants would still have to show they live in OR and pass the driver's test to get a license. George Pataki, a Republican, issued an order that required license applicants to have a social security number.

He also said it will improve safety on the roads.

A Siena poll last week found that 53% of New Yorkers oppose the bill and about 41% support it. Lawmakers initially reversed the practice in 2008 to comply with federal ID laws, then backtracked and voted to reinstate licenses for undocumented immigrants in 2013.

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