Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, joined by members of the Green Light NY coalition, a network of more than 200 organizations statewide including Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition, held a rally on Wednesday to express local support for the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act.
The bill, co-sponsored by Brooklyn State Senator Zellnor Myrie who represents the 20th District including Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, East Flatbush and Brownsville, would expand access to drivers’ licenses for all state residents, regardless of their immigration status.
“Immigrants are major contributors to New York’s robust economy and celebrated culture, yet they face disproportionate levels of discrimination and danger,” said Myrie. “No one should have to overcome fear just to get to work, pick up their kids from school or otherwise take care of their families. With this bill, we stand for our immigrants, their dignity and wellbeing.”
Currently, 752,000 undocumented immigrant New Yorkers over the age of 16 are barred from obtaining driver’s licenses due to their immigration status, and more than 70,000 additional residents who currently have Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are at risk of losing access to their driver’s licenses.
Thirteen states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are already providing driver’s licenses to their residents regardless of immigration status. Adams and the Green Light NY coalition highlighted how the legislation would improve public safety by promoting greater trust with local authorities and awareness of traffic laws, as well as benefit the economy through an estimated $57 million in annual revenue and lower insurance premiums for all drivers.
“Today, across New York, there are so many fronts on which we are standing tall in support of our immigrant community and its rights, including the push to expand access to driver’s licenses,” said Adams. “As a matter of public safety, as well as social justice and economic benefit, the time is now to pass this legislation in Albany.”
The bill has currently passed both the Senate and Assembly and awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.