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Green Light Bill Gets the Green Light from Albany

Posted on June 20, 2019 by admin  |  Share

Image: Everyone Get Your Driver's License Sign, Immigration
Image Credit: Dana Weiner, Catholic Charities of New York

Catholic Charities of New York Supports the New Law

by Sophia Theriault

Monday brought good news for undocumented immigrants in New York. Governor Cuomo signed legislation granting undocumented immigrants the right to obtain driver’s licenses after expressing concern over the protection of their personal information.

This bill means that “all parents, families, and workers who are newcomers and who contribute time, energy, faith, and skills to their communities will no longer need to be in fear of being separated from their loved ones, or face deportation, due to a simple traffic stop,” says Catholic Charities’ immigration attorney, Lucia Goyen.

In response to Cuomo’s concerns, New York Attorney General Letitia James stated, “The legislation is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver’s licenses. If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it.”

Prior to the decision, the Green Light Bill faced opposition from the public as well as from law enforcement and some elected officials.

“Immigrant and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities Community Services of New York applauds New York State passage and signing of the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act in New York State, which restores drivers’ licenses to all, regardless of immigration status,” Goyen says.

“Catholic Charities has supported this important legislation because it knows first hand the countless lives and families throughout the Archdiocese that can now feel safer in today’s difficult environment for immigrants,” said Goyen. The bill makes headway for immigrants to feel more welcome in New York and “will prove to them what they already know- that they too are New Yorkers."

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “For economic, safety, and moral reasons, our communities deserve the Green Light Bill” in New York. New York is the 13th state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

This bill was passed by the state Senate 33-29 and will take 180 days to go into effect.