May 14, 2018- Professor Peter Markowitz, director of Cardozo’s Immigration Justice Clinic, wrote an op-ed in the Daily News critiquing the current New York State policy that requires proof of legal immigration status in order to obtain a driver’s license and urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to change this policy. In 2001, then-Governor George Pataki adapted this policy, which became a tremendous problem for immigrants in areas where driving is a necessity.
Markowitz says Cuomo would not need to alter state law to do so. “New York law does not now, and has never, required proof of lawful immigration status to apply for a driver's license. There is no debate on this point. New York's highest court has acknowledged that there is no "legal presence" requirement for driver's licenses in New York. Rather, the court has made clear that licenses are available for people who are "not eligible for a social security number," a group that includes undocumented immigrants.”
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