One hundred and fifty Long Islanders rallied at the Suffolk Department of Motor Vehicles office in Hauppauge to call for six hold-out state senators to support making driver’s licenses available to immigrants. With only two weeks left in the legislative session, both Senators Kevin Thomas and Anna Kaplan announced that they opposed the bill allowing immigrants to apply for licenses while the rally was going on.
Cecilia Martinez of Bay Shore told the assembled crowd that the unwillingness of the “Long Island Six” senators was not just affecting undocumented immigrants, but also the 15,000-plus immigrants with TPS set to lose their status in January. They too will become ineligible for licenses when that happens. “The Green Light Bill will make sure that our families keep their licenses and drive safely,” she said.
Phil Ramos, who represents Central Islip and Brentwood in the Assembly said that the senators should back the legislation because it “is good for everyone.” He said that encouraging immigrants to learn to drive and take the driver’s test will improve safety “for everyone.”
Roger Clayman of the Long Island Federation of Labor told the advocates that driving a necessity for workers on Long Island. “There’s no support from our representatives. We feel limited from picking up our children from school and going to work without fear or having a good job,” Dulce Rojas of SEPA Mujer added.