Driving licenses for undocumented New Yorkers

New York State wants to facilitate access to this sesame for hundreds of thousands of people in an irregular situation. An indispensable document for moving around the country.

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On 42nd Street in Manhattan, August 9th.
On 42nd Street in Manhattan, August 9th. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP


It's one of New York's technocratic calvaries for foreigners: obtaining a driving license. Hard to survive without the United States, especially when you want to go on an adventure in the Midwest. And yet the procedure is essential: the European license is no longer valid after three months of residence in New York.

Pass the code is not a problem: just answer that drinking coffee, water or eating a cheeseburger does not accelerate the elimination of alcohol. For the driving, the examination is more delicate, especially when one is clumsy.

Three pitfalls are to be avoided – they are eliminatory -: to touch the sidewalk (or what serves as) by making his niche, stop at the intersection and not stop, which is several meters back (few It does not matter if you do not see the other cars arrive) or even exceed 25 miles an hour, a restriction that no one has noticed, and especially not the customers of New York taxis who think they are Fangio, but is the limit now throughout the city.

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900,000 people involved

The most complicated is still to provide all the required proof: a social security number (even if we have no connection with the US system) or the green information sheet I-94 that the immigration services do not staples more in your passport for more than five years but that the New York bureaucracy continues to ask. In short, after three months, we ended up getting the small plastic card. And that will soon be the case also for illegal immigrants in New York State.

The latter has indeed adopted a law that will allow people in an irregular situation to apply for a driving license. It is estimated that 265,000 illegals out of 900,000 are expected to obtain it within three years.

It will no longer be necessary to have a social security number, states the new legislation, which already exists in a dozen other states. A passport will suffice, and the information will not be transmitted to the border police. This was already the case before the attacks of September 11, 2001, but a decree by Democratic Governor George Pataki in 2002 established this requirement for reasons of national security.

For years, associations for the defense of visa-free immigrants have tried to backtrack, without success. Democratic governor Eliot Spitzer made a good attempt in 2007, but his rating dropped immediately in the polls. It took Donald Trump's election to the White House in 2016 for Democrats to adopt a policy more favorable to illegal immigrants and accept this easing. And still, the law was approved in June of extreme accuracy, by 33 votes against 29.


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