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April 13, 2004

Ortiz Stands Up For New York Immigrant's Rights
Rally held to protest DMV's plan to revoke immigrant's driver's licenses

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D-51st) was joined by The New York Immigration Coalition as well as, numerous immigrant New Yorkers and supporters today in the streets of Manhattan to protest the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles plan to revoke the driver's licenses of tens of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers. The Department of Motor Vehicles is sending out letters threatening to suspend driver's licenses unless recipients of the letter prove their Social Security number is valid within 15 days.

This new policy will have disastrous consequences for New York's immigrant population by making it nearly impossible to earn a living or carry out life's most basic activities. Without the ability to drive, these individuals will be prevented from obtaining better employment, quality healthcare and proper education for their children. Many immigrants are also required to drive in order to work and would likely lose their job if their licenses were revoked.

In addition, restricting immigrants' access to valid driver's licenses forces these usually law-abiding individuals to drive illegally and without insurance which creates many problems in return. By allowing these individuals to legally drive the state can guarantee that all drivers receive the proper training and are fully insured before getting on the road.

Ortiz has authored legislation (A.5691) currently in the New York State Assembly which would allow immigrants to us an Individual Tax Identification Number in place of a Social Security Number during the process of obtaining a driver's license.

"I am appalled that the State of New York would even consider taking away these hardworking peoples driver's licenses and make the act of living in a new country even more difficult for them." stated Ortiz.