Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 542-2413
For Immediate Release:
Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tedisco: Governor & DMV's Elimination Of Temporary Visitor Program Is "Critical Mistake"
Calls for DMV Commissioner Swarts to publicly explain why the program was eliminated in such a secretive manner

As part of his continued effort to stop Governor Eliot Spitzer's unlawful proposal to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) pointed to the elimination of the "Temporary Visitor Program" as a "critical mistake that will make New York's roadways less safe."

The Temporary Visitor Program, originally put in place on January 8, 2003 by the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) indicates - with bold, red ink - a date-specific expiration on a driver's license for a documented non-citizen's stay. This tool can alert law enforcement as to the authorized duration of an individual's stay. The program's elimination was part of the Governor's proposal to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens. The initiative was intended to help increase the security of driver's licenses in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"On September 24, 2007, the Department of Motor Vehicles issued an internal memorandum indicating the Temporary Visitor Program had, in fact, been eliminated. There were no hearings, no opportunity for public or legislative input. This decision by DMV Commissioner Swarts was a critical mistake as it removed an effective tool for law enforcement and will result in New York's roadways being less safe," Tedisco said.

"Commissioner Swarts is a former County Clerk - of all people, he should know how important the Temporary Visitor Program was. Why he allowed its elimination is something that he should explain publicly," Tedisco stated.

Tedisco noted that under Section 502, subsection 1, of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, the Governor and the Commissioner of DMV would be in direct violation of state law requiring a Social Security number be provided to obtain a driver's license if their proposal were enacted.

Speaking as the Oneida County Sheriff, Sheriff Dan Middaugh said: "I oppose the elimination of the Temporary Visitor Program and I also oppose Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens." Sheriff Middaugh also noted that the New York State Sheriffs' Association expects to discuss both matters during an upcoming meeting.

"The Governor's unlawful proposal to hand out driver's licenses to illegal aliens is risky, reckless and irresponsible - its wholesale elimination of the Temporary Visitor Program will make New Yorkers and their roadways less safe, less secure. This is why our Assembly Minority Conference - and a growing, bi-partisan chorus of elected officials and courageous County Clerks - is working to stop Governor Spitzer's unlawful plan from going forward. We have told the Governor and the DMV they have until October 31 to stop their proposal or we will see them in court. The clock is ticking," Tedisco concluded.

New York State Assembly
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