Today in the Transportation Committee, Assembly Majority members voted to move forward Assembly Bill 3675-A that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. The bill will likely come to the floor before the end of session this month. Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) opposes the measure.
Rather than allowing illegal immigrants to obtain legal government identification, state government should focus on paving a more accessible way for immigrants to obtain citizenship, said Walsh. We should not be granting immigrants a privilege that is reserved for law-abiding, legal citizens. The granting of a government-issued form of identification will have far-reaching implications. For example, when a drivers license is issued, the undocumented immigrant could check the register to vote box on the application and could be incorrectly registered to vote. This would put a tremendous burden on our local boards of election to try to sift through applications to attempt to determine who was actually eligible to vote. Undoubtedly, mistakes could be made which would contribute to voter fraud.
There are so many unintended consequences of this bill. It was a bad idea 10 years ago when this bill was first advanced, and it remains a bad idea that must be defeated.
Walsh currently sponsors the County Clerks Protection Act (A.6317) that would protect county clerks in the event that they deny undocumented immigrants drivers licenses if they believe it may violate the law or their oath of office. The bill would ensure that county clerks are not removed from their elected position for acting in good faith.
County clerks are dedicated individuals who do not take their elected position lightly. If they believe in good conscience that providing drivers licenses to undocumented individuals is unconstitutional, then they should not have their position threatened, said Walsh.