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Letter: Real ID Act Will Hurt NY Economy (New York Times)

To The Editor:

Re “Plenty of Apples, But a Possible Shortage of Immigrant Pickers” (Page B1, Aug. 21):

New York’s agricultural economy will be further damaged should Governor Spitzer decide to implement the federal Real ID Act.

Tens of thousands of immigrants serve as the backbone for New York’s $3.6 billion agricultural industry. Enactment of the federal Real ID Act, which attempts to turn state driver’s licenses into immigration enforcement documents, will put an enormous burden on this industry by driving immigrant communities further underground, and leading to a greater scarcity of labor resources for farmers. Tens of thousands of hardworking immigrant New Yorkers would be prevented from obtaining a driver’s license, getting to or from work, and paying taxes.

Seventeen states have already rejected the Real ID Act, and Governor Spitzer should add New York to this growing, and bipartisan, list. Rejection of the Real ID Act will protect New York’s immigrant communities, and New York’s economy.

Udi Ofer, Legislative Counsel, NYCLU
Donna Lieberman, Executive Director, NYCLU

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Civil Liberties Union