Immigration both legal and otherwise is a hot-button topic for the United States. In the time of Trump, illegal aliens are scapegoats for everything wrong with the country. Being an immigrant whether it be legal or illegal poses many challenges to one’s life such as establishing yourself in a new country and even finding work. On many job applications there are questions that ask for your driver’s license, social security number or another form of ID. Without identification such as a driver’s license, it is difficult to find work. Many immigrant workers can’t get jobs outside of menial labor due in part to their educational circumstances and other restrictions placed on them by government regulations.

In an effort to help immigrants, New York past a law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for and get driver’s licenses. They now uphold the practice of permitting undocumented immigrants licenses in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. Surprisingly, Democrats contested the New York legislation. The bill barely slipped through and passed with a vote of 33-29.  Many in the business Community including those on the Business Council of New York State (which is the state’s largest business organization) argue that immigrants need a driver’s license in order to even start looking for a job. With the empowerment of the driver’s license these folks will be able to stop taking government aid, and look after themselves through paid employment. The move is much more symbolic than any realize because this tiny square of plastic offers empowerment and the ability for immigrants to better their lives.

Opponents of the bill such as Rob Ortt have the opinion that the handing out of driver’s licenses cheapens the process of citizenship and what it means to be an American. There are those out there who have worked for years to get their citizenship, and seeing others able to “cut the line” is distressing to them. For others, this is a step in the right direction. Many immigrants find themselves trapped in poverty because of all the red tape they face with simple acts such as opening a bank account, or wanting to buy a car. Immigrants like Jorge Garcia, a resident of Long Island, are ecstatic about the new law. For Mr. Garcia and other immigrants there is a fear of getting caught every day, but with a driver’s license, he now feels empowered to improve his life, all with the use of a car, and another barrier removed.  Many see this change as a positive move that will help lessen the drain on government services, where others are opposed to the new law on the principle that every person who comes to the United States must do so in a lawful way, regardless of personal or economic circumstances and that handing out driver’s licenses is not the way to promote proper immigration. In reality, any steps taken to lessen the effects of illegal immigration are a step in the right direction.