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June 17, 2013

Will New York Approve Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens/Undocumented Immigrants

By Michael H. Joseph

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Last week the State of Connecticut passed legislation which beginning in 2015, will allow illegal aliens and undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. Undocumented workers are often in a catch 22, where they need to drive vehicles to work, but they are not lawfully able to obtain drivers licenses. The current state of the law in New York encourages fraud and irresponsibility. The reality is that most of these individuals have the skills to safely operate a vehicle and most have drivers licenses in their home countries.

But when they come to New York, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue them a license because they do not have a social security number. This places many undocumented aliens in a quandry because they know how to drive and they are capable of driving but are not able to drive. This encourages many undocumented immigrants to go to States which will issue licenses such as North Carolina or Washington and then drive on that license in New York.

Immigrants are susceptible to arrest and police harassment and risk an arrest every time they operate a vehicle. Our Westchester criminal lawyers have successfully defended the undocumented community in driving related offenses ranging from driving without a license to driving with suspended licenses and possession of forged instruments in many of the Westchester and New York City Courts including the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle, Ossining, Rye, Mount Vernon, Greenburgh, Elmsford, Port Chester, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, Pelham and Valhalla.

If New York follows Connecticut and passes the legislation, it will allow these undocumented immigrants to register vehicles in their own name, which will alleviate a wide spread practice of family members registering numerous vehicles in their names and allowing the undocumented family members to basically own it. It will enhance public safety by ensuring that immigrants are qualified to drive and by allowing the immigrants to purchase insurance. Likewise, it will stop arrests of ordinary people for something that is realistically beyond their control, namely their inability to get a license.

 
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