New York Advocacy Groups Promote State Bill Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Get Driver’s Licenses

Prior to 2005, undocumented immigrants in New York were allowed to apply for and receive driver’s licenses. That changed when the U.S. Congress modified a federal law that then required immigrants to provide proof of legal status in order to get a driver’s license. The organizations are trying to revert back to the previous policy.

Under the legislation, undocumented immigrants would only be allowed to obtain the lowest level of a driver’s license in the state’s three-tiered system, called a standard license. The license is only used for identification and does not allow users to enter federal facilities, fly domestically or cross the border from Canada, Mexico or some Caribbean countries. As of January 21, the bill was before the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees for consideration.