Upstate GOP Lawmakers Oppose The Driver’s License Legislation

June 13, 2019

FROM ASSEMBLYMAN PHIL PALMESANO:

“Today’s bill allowing undocumented immigrants to receive New York State driver’s licenses is the latest example of the Assembly Democrats misguided priorities and penchant for pushing flawed legislation. Driver’s licenses would be issued to undocumented-immigrants, who are not here legally, based on unverified, possibly fraudulent, foreign documents-an obvious public safety risk. This legislation restricts information that can be shared with law enforcement, and it also opens the door to potential widespread voter fraud at a time when we should be working to secure our electoral process in a bipartisan way. Sixty-one percent of voters upstate and a majority of voters statewide oppose this bill. I’m one of them. I voted no today, and I’m encouraging my colleagues in the Senate to reject this bill before it can get to the governor’s desk,” said Palmesano.

FROM ASSEMBLYWOMAN MARJORIE BYRNES:

Today, the state Assembly passed Assembly Bill 3675-B, known as the “Green Light Bill,” that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain New York state driver’s licenses. A recent Siena Poll found that 61% of New Yorkers opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Despite a large percentage of residents opposing the measure, the Green Light Bill passed the Assembly and is set to be voted on in the Senate.

“I don’t think people realize the repercussions this bill will create. The Green Light Bill is granting more privileges than just allowing illegal immigrants to drive a car. It is opening the door for voter fraud. Boards of elections will be forced to sort through applications of legal and illegal individuals who have registered to vote. Local Departments of Motor Vehicles will have to allocate taxpayer dollars towards additional labor costs to handle the influx of individuals receiving driver’s licenses,” said Byrnes. “As we reach the end of session, our taxpayers are seeing little return on investment. It’s necessary that we shift priorities to relieving the tax burdens of the middle class instead of making it easier for those who have broken the law.”

The driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants proposal originated in 2007 by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The proposal was highly opposed by both Democrats and Republicans. On April 8 of this year, Monroe County passed a memorializing letter in opposition of the Green Light Bill. Concerns were raised that the proposal goes against federal laws on immigration and will create additional incentives for individuals to enter our country illegally.

“As Monroe County Executive, I am disappointed to see the New York State Assembly vote “yes” on this misguided legislation to issue driver’s licenses to those who are here illegally. In 2007, when I served as Monroe County Clerk, I successfully rallied my fellow clerks on both sides of the aisle to stand up to Albany and stop this proposal before it was enacted in the first place. It was my hope that county clerks from across the state, particularly the Monroe County region, would use their platforms as elected leaders to stop this legislation again this year,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.

FROM ASSEMBLYMAN JOE GIGLIO:
“I am deeply concerned with the negative impact that this legislation has for our county clerks. Their oaths of office are taken very seriously and this bill would create conflict in their efforts to support the United States and New York State constitutions and New York State law. I stand by them and their opinion that we should not be granting illegal immigrants any official government identification. We shouldn’t be discussing this in the final hours of session while doing nothing to help our taxpayers or our students who are burdened with debt. This is a matter of priorities and public safety.”