North Shore politicians vote against bill granting undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses

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State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) and other Long Island Democratic senators received perfect scores from the state League of Conservation Voters. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Politicians representing the North Shore of Nassau County overwhelmingly voted against a bill that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) was the only vote from the North Shore of the county in favor of the bill that was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.

None of the state senators representing Long Island voted in favor of the legislation, including Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck).

The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act passed the state Senate 33-29, one vote over  the majority required for passage.

Both Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-Port Washington) and Assemblyman Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square) voted against the bill in the state Assembly, where 87 voted in favor and 61 against it.

A statement from the Long Island Democratic Senate delegation said, “We value the important contributions made by immigrants to our local economy and our communities, which is why we have given this piece of legislation careful consideration.”

It continued to say “our vote is based on the continued existence of serious concerns raised by stakeholders and law enforcement.”

State Sen. Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx), the bill’s sponsor, said, “This legislation will not only provide undocumented immigrants with a legal solution to obtain a driver’s license, but its positive impacts will include significant economic growth, improved road safety, and keep hardworking families together.”

The legislation expands the identification accepted for noncommercial driver’s license or learner’s permit applications to include foreign passports, foreign driver’s licenses and identification documents issued from a foreign consulate. 

The Social Security number requirement is waived and applicants can sign an affidavit stating that they have not yet been issued a Social Security number. The signed affidavit will also provide the Department of Motor Vehicles with discretion to approve the additional proof of identification and age.

Sepulveda added that with the bill’s passage “millions of dollars will be raised in revenue, auto insurance premiums will decrease, and local economies will boom as earnings and spending increase.”

The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that an additional $83.9 million in government revenue will be generated statewide over the first three years as a result of the legislation. A recurring $6.4 million is expected to be generated each year thereafter.

Immigration status was not included as a stipulation to obtaining a driver’s license until 2001.

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