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Letter: County Clerks Flout the Law Over Driver’s Licenses (Syracuse Post-Standard)

To the Editor:

It is disappointing that county clerks in Central New York plan to disregard the sensible policy to restore access to drivers licenses to all New Yorkers. One million immigrants without a green card or visa live, work and pay taxes in New York state. They also drive cars to get to work, put food on their tables and provide for their children, many of whom are American citizens.

Four years ago, then-Gov. Pataki issued an executive order requiring the DMV to issue driver’s licenses only to residents who could provide a valid Social Security number. This procedural change effectively barred many taxpaying New Yorkers from seeking drivers licenses.

Albany has finally realized that the DMV must ensure that all New York state drivers have demonstrated their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Experts report that this step will significantly reduce accidents and insurance costs for all New York state drivers.

Introduced with this move are stringent new security and anti-fraud measures that ensure that drivers licenses will be granted only to those residents who fulfill a six-point requirement and prove their identity with documentation that has been carefully checked for legitimacy. These additional procedures will make New York state driver’s licenses the most secure in the nation.

It is time for legislators and county clerks to put aside inflammatory politics and factual distortions. By ignoring the administrative policy order, it is the county clerks who will be flouting the law and making our roadways more hazardous.

Barrie Gewanter
Director, Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

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