Undocumented immigrants in New York state are now eligible for driver’s licenses, thanks to legislation Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed on June 17, making New York the 13th state with such a law.
The state Senate approved the proposal earlier in the day on June 17, following its passage in the Assembly.
Cuomo has repeatedly expressed support for the “Green Light Bill” allowing licenses, but has voiced last-minute concerns about whether information gathered by the DMV could also be obtained by federal officials and used for immigration enforcement, reported the Daily News.
Before signing the bill, Cuomo asked Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, New York state’s top civil attorney, to review the measure for possible safety concerns, and threatened to veto if he did not agree with the assessment, according to the New York Post.
“The legislation is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver’s licenses,” said Attorney General Letitia James in a statement, adding that her office concluded the bill constitutional. “If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it.”
There is widespread opposition to the measure, though. A recent poll released by Siena College Research Institute showed that more than 50 percent of New Yorkers surveyed were against the bill, reported CBS News.
Supporters of the bill include immigrant advocates and the New York Business Council, two groups that say licenses would help immigrants commute to work and complete everyday tasks, according to NBC News.