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May 21, 2019 6:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Formally Backs Issuing Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants

The East Hampton Town Board has formally offered its support of state legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to be issued drivers licenses. Michael Wright
May 21, 2019 12:04 PM

The East Hampton Town Board agreed last week to formally endorse a state bill that would give undocumented immigrants the right to obtain New York State driver’s licenses.

The town’s support will come only in the form of a memorializing resolution and a letter to state lawmakers, who are still considering the bill, but board members have been roundly supportive of the measure as a way to boost safety on local roadways.

A dozen other states nationwide have already adopted similar laws and have seen improvements in road safety statistics, as more drivers take driver safety training and pass road tests. There are also reductions in the number of uninsured motorists and hit-and-run accidents.

Advocates have said that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than licensed drivers.

“It has eliminated a number of problems, [like] having unlicensed drivers on our roadways,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said at a discussion of the supporting resolution earlier this month. “I think everybody is safer having people educated on the driving rules. We see an influx of people in the summertime who don’t practice driving regularly—and we see how that goes.”

Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who crafted the memorializing resolution approved last week by the board, noted that the state issued driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants up until 2002.

The bill is being considered by the state for possible inclusion in the state budget agreement this summer. The Democratic majority in both the Assembly and Senate has boosted political support, though most state Republicans still oppose the bill. There also is negotiation still ongoing about how the list of undocumented license holders will be accessible by law enforcement agencies.

Support for the legislation locally has been spearheaded by the group East End for Opportunity, which hosted a forum on the topic last month.

“Once this is implemented, everyone is going to see this helps everybody,” said Zachary Cohen, of East End for Opportunity, at a Town Board meeting on Thursday, May 16.

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Wait for elections and vote properly CITIZENS...
By knitter (1865), Southampton on May 21, 19 6:50 PM
I formally disagree.
By auntof9 (154), Southampton on May 22, 19 10:05 AM
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