The Road to Opportunity: Granting Driver’s Licenses to All New Yorkers
To many of the 3.6 million licensed individuals in New York City, a driver’s license is often nothing more than a thin, plastic card tucked in between a few crumpled bills and grocery receipts in their wallets. However, for undocumented immigrants living throughout the five boroughs, that piece of plastic represents much more than the ability to legally drive a car—it symbolizes increased economic opportunities, stronger families, and a chance to integrate more fully into New York City. Today, there are approximately 570,000 undocumented New Yorkers living throughout the five boroughs. They live, work, and raise families in our communities and neighborhoods, but unlike the rest of us, they do not have the privilege of being able to drive legally. Even with one of the largest public transportation systems in the world, driving is still an integral part of everyday life here in New York City—meaning that undocumented New Yorkers living in transit deserts and other parts of New York State face even greater barriers to integrating into their communities.