ALBANY — A top New York State top business group backs legislation giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — claiming it will be a boon to the economy.
“This is the law in 12 states and its been beneficial to those states’ economies,” Heather Briccetti, CEO of the Business Council of New York, told reporters Wednesday.
“Every day there are workforce shortages across the state in every industry not just agriculture and one component of that problem is very very clunky and unworkable,” she added, referring to the license issue.
“I think there’s a really easy, valid reason to do this and that is to make sure these folks are tested, licensed and have access to insurance. It doesn’t confer citizenship.”
Bill sponsors Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) and Sen. Luis Sepulveda (D-Brooklyn) argue that not giving undocumented immigrants access to a driver’s license is a safety issue. They have tightened up aspects of the bill in recent talks with law enforcement.
Several city district attorneys have also .
Still, opposition to granting driving privileges to illegal immigrants is intense in many parts of the state.
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A March poll conducted by Siena College found 61 percent of voters are against green-lighting the licenses.
“Over 60 percent of New Yorkers oppose giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, yet the ‘Business as usual Council’ comes out in support of it,” said Sen. Rob Ortt (R-Lockport).
“This is nothing more than the Albany establishment at its finest.”
According to the liberal Fiscal Policy Institute, 265,000 new people across the state would be privy to licenses.
An estimated $57 million in annual revenue plus $26 million in one-time revenue would come from the licences, new cars, registrations plus taxes and fees, the think tank said.
Gov. Cuomo to grant licenses to undocumented residents if a measure passes the Democratic-led Assembly and Senate.
Both Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) support the legislation.
But the Senate appears to lack the votes to pass the license bill at ths time, with some suburban and upstate lawmakers fearing a political backlash if they vote for it.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) has previously said there are enough votes to pass the measure in his chamber, but in the state Senate the legislation has less than 30 sponsors.