ICYMI: The New York Times Agrees: Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Makes Sense, Changes Lives

The New York Times Editorial Board published an op-ed Friday supporting legislation that would grant undocumented immigrants the right to drive.

Citing the economic impact of New York’s undocumented population—5 percent of the labor force, paying $1.1 billion in state and local taxes—the Times calls on resistant suburban Senate Democrats to support the Green Light NY bill, which would allow undocumented immigrants to undergo the same process as other New Yorkers to apply for a license.

“Opponents say the state should not make it easier for immigrants who are here illegally to work jobs they are not supposed to have,” the Board wrote. “For those who have to work and raise their families in the shadows as they provide cheap labor for contractors, restaurants, farms and factories, a driver’s license could change their lives.”

“The New York Times Editorial Board has affirmed what we already know: the Green Light NY bill is common sense policy and is beneficial to all New Yorkers,” said Eddie A. Taveras, New York State Immigration Manager at FWD.us. “Creating a process for undocumented New Yorkers to earn a driver’s license makes sense for our economy, public safety, and immigrant communities alike.”

Green Light NY, currently under consideration by the Legislature, would require undocumented individuals who apply for a license to go through the same process as any other New Yorker, including taking a driver’s education course and passing a road test.

Highlighting Aldo, a 40-year old undocumented construction worker and head of one Staten Island family struggling with public transportation and possible police interactions, the board wrote, “Keeping people like Aldo fearful doesn’t make anyone else safer. Giving them the right to have a driver’s license makes sense.”

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