Monday, September 24, 2007

safer roads in New York

Chung-Wa Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, writes about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s new policy to permit out-of-status immigrants apply for driver’s licenses:

However critics of the plan may try to spin it, the governor is taking a tough stance. By expanding access to driver's licenses, he's ensuring that our roads are safe. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers are almost five times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers with a valid license. And he's also helping law enforcement by making it easier to locate those individuals who may pose a real threat.

Spitzer's new policy will bring much-needed change. It shows the governor is brave enough to admit that tying license eligibility to immigration status has undermined the state's compelling interest in ensuring public safety.

The plan requires stringent documentation criteria for obtaining a driver's license. While more people will be able to apply for licenses, the security standards they must meet are now set higher - making a New York State driver's license one of the most secure, verifiable and tamper-proof licenses in the nation.

I wonder when drastically differing state and local immigration policies will begin to impact migration flows within the country. We’re starting to see real policy divergence, and an overstretched DHS can’t smooth over all the wrinkles.

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