NY becomes 13th state to allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants

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WESTBURY -

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Monday night that will allow immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to obtain driver's licenses, making New York the 13th state to do so.

The state Senate approved the "Green Light Bill" with a 33-29 vote. It passed the Assembly last week.

MORE: NY Senate passes bill allowing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants

The new law is a victory for immigrant advocates, many of whom are based on Long Island. Patrick Young, of the New York Immigration Coalition, says allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses makes the roads safer for everyone, since they'll be insured and have registered vehicles.

But Republicans say the passage proves that the Democratic-controlled state Legislature is simply out of touch with everyday Long Islanders. Nassau Republican Party Chairman Joe Cairo says he believes the decision is part of a broader plan by Democrats to ultimately provide citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Nassau Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, who also leads the state Democratic Party, warned Democratic lawmakers not to pass the bill, pointing to its unpopularity in the suburbs. And Long Island's six state Senate Democrats all voted against the measure, but it passed anyway.

Ilir Fiora, of Glen Cove, says he thinks state lawmakers are seeking to undermine President Donald Trump's policies. But others say providing licenses is a matter of safety and practicality.

Before the bill passed the Senate Monday, Cuomo expressed concern that the Trump administration may try to get access to the state's database and potentially go after those people for deportation.

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