Driver’s Licenses Advocates Emboldened by Comptroller Report

Comptroller Scott Stringer presented a report revealing that approving driver’s licenses for undocumented people benefits the economy. (Photo provided to El Diario)

Leaders, activist and advocates for the immigrant community continue to intensify their campaign asking the State Legislature to approve a bill that would grant driver’s licenses to undocumented people. This time, they presented data demonstrating that allowing some 150,000 to have the permits would have a significant, positive impact on the economy, tax revenue and safety of New York. (…)

On Friday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer introduced a report that states that issuing these new permits would increase the state’s revenue. More than $9.6 million could be generated just in license and vehicle ownership-related fees, which could be used to upgrade mass transit.

“The time is now for Albany to expand access to all New Yorkers because granting licenses isn’t just a statement of our moral values, it also makes sense from both a financial and public safety perspective,” said Stringer.

The comptroller pointed out that some 525,000 undocumented people live in New York City and that, even though they make tax contributions, this lack of access restricts their job prospects, forces them to have longer commutes and puts them at risk of being detained and put in deportation processes. (…)

The Fiscal Policy Institute also mentions that the revenue the new law would bring in would increase the number of people buying cars and paying licensing fees, benefiting the Department of Motor Vehicles and lowering the cost of insurance.

“Having a driver’s license is a big deal for undocumented immigrants in parts of New York City that are far from the subway, and for those who may need to drive for work,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, deputy director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. “But it’s even more important for immigrants on Long Island, Westchester and upstate New York, where having a license is something close to a necessity. Licenses will transform people’s lives in the farm country, will help the people in the suburbs get to work and pick up their kids from school (…)”

The report also reveals that annual government revenues will increase $57 million, in addition to $26 million in one-time revenues. Of that money, the state would make $28 million more annually, county governments would earn $21 million and the MTA would make an additional $8.6 million.

Javier Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, addressed the report and called on Albany to push the bill forward, saying that it is beneficial to all.

“This vital research reaffirms that restoring access to driver’s licenses for all will be boon to New York’s economy and state and local budgets. This legislation is a win-win for our state: It will help our economy, improve public safety and protect immigrants,” said the activist.

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