Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) announced that he helped pass the Drivers License Access and Privacy Act to allow undocumented New Yorkers to apply for a standard New York State drivers license (A.3675-A). The measure, also known as the Green Light Bill, would improve road safety while expanding opportunities for immigrants.
Driving is essential to getting around on Long Island, and families shouldnt be held back due to their immigration status, Ramos said. No one should have to risk their well-being or break the law just to put food on the table or take their kids to doctors appointments. This is about increasing fairness, opportunities and public safety.
The Drivers License Access and Privacy Act would help ensure that undocumented New Yorkers are not forced to take the risk of driving without a license, Ramos noted. The legislation would allow them to apply for a standard drivers license and would require that they pass a driving test, are informed of traffic laws and are properly licensed before they get behind the wheel. The measure would not make undocumented New Yorkers eligible to obtain an Enhanced or Real-ID license. The standard license would clearly state that it is not for federal purposes.
The legislation would bring New York up to speed with 12 other states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia that currently allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a drivers license. Additionally, it would help police officers do their job more efficiently and reduce fatal accidents and hit-and-runs, Ramos noted. Further, it would provide financial benefits for the state and for local economies. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, the measure could bring in as much as $57 million in recurring annual revenue from licensing fees as well as sales, gas and other taxes as more people buy cars.
Ramos has been a tireless and vocal advocate for immigrants throughout his time in the Assembly. Earlier this year, he co-sponsored and helped pass the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act (Ch. 26 of 2019), making children of undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements eligible for college assistance programs so that they can pursue a college degree. He also helped secure $27 million in the 2019-20 state budget to implement the DREAM Act.