Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Moving Forward in Albany

State Senator Peralta will be moving a bill soon.
State Senator Peralta will be moving a bill soon.

The movement for drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants is advancing in Albany.

Senator Jose Peralta is pushing a bill for drivers’ licenses that includes an extensive proof of identification system that will allow the forms of identification common to immigrants to be used. These forms of identification will include home country passports, for example. Up to two of the six ID points needed for a license will be allowed to come from these forms of identification.

The bill will not be compliant with the REAL ID Act. This means that it will not be a Federally recognized identification. In other words, it will not get its holder onto an airplane or into buildings where REAL ID-compliant identification is required. The license will clearly be marked that it is not REAL ID. This so-called “Scarlet Letter” designation was rejected by advocates seven years ago, but it is seen as necessary if a bill is to pass. The bill will include extensive protections against discrimination against holders of these licenses.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.