Another Voice: Widening Access to Driver’s Licenses Would Benefit State
Last week Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo officially announced the nomination of Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder for appointment as Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner, a seat that has been empty for four years. Schroeder immediately faced questions about proposed legislation that would restore driver’s license access to undocumented New Yorkers. He responded that his job is simply to “implement the law,” and indicated that he plans to follow the lead of state lawmakers who are poised to pass the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act. The bill proposes making New York’s “standard license” accessible to all qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status. Under the state’s new REAL ID compliant licensing system, a standard license is for driving purposes only and cannot be used for federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane. The bill would directly benefit some 800,000 New Yorkers who are currently prevented from obtaining a license due to their immigration status.