Several states allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
New York has entered the conversation about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants by passing legislation that allows all undocumented immigrants of legal age to get a driver’s license. Of course, these immigrants need to meet the same requirements as everyone else, but this law is seen as a step in the right direction for a state that is trying to be more inclusive. New York has been at the forefront of immigration because Ellis Island sits outside New York City and the state is teeming with people who live around New York City. The state has also been seen as a more progressive destination because New York City is such a diverse city.
Republicans and Democrats alike opposed this legislation as it made its way through the New York legislature. The legislation is seen as “cheapening” the naturalization process by opponents like Rob Ortt. People of this mindset believe that immigrants need to become citizens before they can take advantage of any civil services offered by the state. One of those services is getting a driver’s license and having the ability to use a personal vehicle for transportation. As an extension of that idea, this means that undocumented immigrants cannot get commercial licenses to work for delivery and logistics companies. At the same time, someone who is in favor of this legislation believes that is a good way to help immigrants become functional members of society. These immigrants can use their vehicles for work, they can take their kids to school, and they can pay into the economy as they buy gas, go to shops, and vacation in the state. These immigrants feel more freedom to move around, but they can also make friends with other families who can help them with naturalization, watch their kids, give them better jobs, and improve their situations.
Immigrants often live in fear of getting caught, and they simply want a chance to live a better life. Someone who is undocumented will be much happier because they have the opportunity to get a driver’s license, buy a vehicle, and drive securely. These drivers can use these licenses as identification, and they will not be as afraid of getting caught. At the same time, these immigrants feel as though they can improve their lives because the car might take them to other parts of the state where jobs are plentiful. The freedom that a driver’s license provides is something that most immigrants do not feel.
Jorge Garcia of Long Island believes that the new law passed by New York will allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses and make it easier for these people to get green cards, become naturalized, and even bring their relatives to America legally. Helping people come to America legally can cut back on the effects of illegal immigration because people who are getting driver’s licenses and working are more likely to pay their bills, pay their taxes, and improve the lives of their families. Anyone who wants to see the impact of illegal immigration drop should realize that removing barriers for immigrants is a step in the right direction.