Contact: Laurie Ammerman, (518) 455-5073
For Immediate Release:
Friday, September 21, 2007

Tedisco Calls On Spitzer To Protect New Yorkers

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) has called on Gov. Eliot Spitzer to rescind today's policy change that would openly allow illegal aliens to obtain New York driver licenses.

"Ten days after the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, the governor and his administration have decided that New York should roll back the safeguards put into place in 2002 to protect our citizens. These reckless licensing procedures being advanced by the governor are short-sighted and detrimental to New Yorkers' safety," Tedisco said.

Spitzer's administrative policy change creates a dangerous loophole in state DMV regulations, allowing illegal aliens and potential terrorists the opportunity to apply for state driver licenses without regard to their citizenship status.

The Federal Real ID Act and the proposed federal regulations to implement it require states to meet certain minimum security standards in order for state driver licenses to be acceptable. Requirements include that an applicant produce evidence of a valid SSN or proof of ineligibility. The only foreign documentation that would be accepted would be a foreign passport with a valid, current US Visa. The federal standards were developed to protect against identity fraud and to protect our national security. Many of the foreign terrorists involved in the attack on our nation on September 11, 2001 used false information to obtain driver licenses that allowed them to move about our country freely and to rent vehicles and board aircraft used in the plot against us.

"The governor's proposal claims that New York is a state with a proud history of welcoming immigrants," Tedisco said. "That is true. We welcome all who legally qualify to enter our country. But any change in the licensing policy should conform to the Federal Real ID Act that requires states to comply in just a few short months.

"If we follow the governor's ill-advised policy, New York driver licenses will no longer be accepted at our nation's borders or airports as of May 11, 2008. This policy change is wrong for New York and wrong for our national security," Tedisco concluded.

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