Lopez Joins Call On Governor To Rescind Ill-Conceived Policy Change

September 28, 2007
From left: Rensselaer County Clerk Frank J. Merola, Saratoga County Clerk Kathleen Marchione, Assemblyman George Amedore, Assemblyman Pete Lopez, Assemblyman Tom Kirwan, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco and Assemblyman Phil Boyle
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I – Schoharie) today joined his Conference members and County Clerks from the region in calling on Gov. Spitzer and the Department of Motor Vehicles to immediately rescind a policy that allows illegal aliens to obtain a New York driver’s license or face a lawsuit.

The Assemblyman and his colleagues maintain that the Governor and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles are in direct violation of state law which requires a Social Security number be provided to obtain a driver’s license (Section 502, subsection 1 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law).

“As a former Schoharie County Clerk, I know firsthand what Clerks around the state must be feeling as DMV offices are directed to issue a driver’s license to people who cannot prove they're here legally,” said Lopez. “Those of us who have worked in county DMV offices know that the driver’s license is viewed as a gateway document that opens the door to many other opportunities and services within our society. Handing licenses out like lollipops to illegal immigrants is an affront to those who are in our country legally and puts our communities at risk.”

They further state the Governor’s administrative policy change creates a dangerous loophole in state DMV regulations, allowing potential illegal immigrants the opportunity to obtain state driver licenses without regard to their citizenship status.

“The Governor’s action runs counter to national efforts to strengthen national security through advancement of the Federal Real ID Act,” said Lopez. “This act requires states to meet certain minimum security standards in order for state driver licenses to be acceptable. Requirements include an applicant produce evidence of a valid Social Security number. Unlike Spitzer’s plan, 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.”

“New York State DMV’s previous program was very close to meeting the national Real ID standard,” Lopez stated. “Now, Governor Spitzer has taken us a step backward by single-handedly eliminating those protections. It’s critical that this action be blocked. Our communities cannot afford to have their security compromised.”