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June 12, 2019 - 6:37pm

Hawley blasts Downstate politicians for voting in favor of allowing illegals to get driver's licenses

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley on the Assembly passing legislation awarding driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants:

“This sends a dangerous message to society – it’s acceptable to enter our country illegally and continue to break the law because you will be rewarded.

"Downstate politicians continue to peddle handouts and shortcuts for everyone but the middle class. Felons get pay raises, illegals get driver’s licenses and sex offenders get voting rights. Make no mistake, this is a step toward allowing illegals to vote in our elections.

"Recent polling shows the majority of the state opposes this radical proposal but New York City politicians are more concerned with scoring political points against President Trump than following public sentiment – a disgraceful day in Albany.”

carl Hyde Jr
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Divide NY STATE! This is not what "we the people " want !

Dayne Burroughs
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Absolutely disgraceful....a blatant middle finger from the Governor at the rest of NYS that struggles to put food on the table and live in peace.

Howard B. Owens
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Why would anybody be against ensuring drivers on our roads can safely operate a vehicle and have insurance?

david spaulding
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Howard you are funny... did the word "illegal" take on a new meaning? If you are in this country illegally you can NOT drive on our highways. Simple. No driveo gringo. Go ahead call me a racist, a bigot, whatever name pleases you. ..... Howard , Nothing is going to be safer, stop saying that... I understand these people are human beings and that I am no better than they are, however a line has to be drawn somewhere and I believe the word "Illegal" is where it should start......

C. M. Barons
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Most states have provisions for non-resident drivers licenses. Framing this as an immigration issue is politically opportunistic. The license does not alter anyone's immigration status it only serves the purpose of operating a motor vehicle. This was the case up until 2001 when a Social Security card became necessary to apply. Twelve states have already begun issuing drivers licenses to undocumented applicants. It is estimated that at least 150,000 unlicensed operators are on the roads in New York State. An additional 100,000 non-operators would likely take advantage of the law. "(T)he policy change would generate an estimated US$57 million in combined government revenues that would recur annually, as well as a US$26 million one-time boost in revenues as more people get licenses." - Jamaica-Gleamer.com.

Howard B. Owens
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First, nobody is in the country illegally.

It's illegal to cross the border without permission. Once in the country without permission you are undocumented. Also, its a misdemeanor to cross the border illegally and nothing more than civil violation to be undocumented. Also, once in the country, by virtue of the 14th Amendment, you are entitled to due process under the law.

The only reason they cross the border illegally because of our own screwed up immigration laws which make it nearly impossible for most people to cross legally -- people we need here to help our economy grow and fill necessary and vital jobs that most native residents are unwilling to take. These are honest, hardworking people who are merely trying to make a better lives for themselves and their families.

They are coming whether you like it or not because it is an economic necessity on both sides of the border that they come.

And they need transportation. And legal or not, some of them are going to drive.

So by denying them drivers licenses you are making our roads less safe and setting up a situation where victims of traffic accidents could be left holding the financial bag because unlicensed drivers can't get insurance.

But go ahead and bury your head in the sand and ignore reality.

david spaulding
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I'll argue some more later.... pistol permits too ?

david spaulding
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Howard, you can sugar coat the description from "illegal" to "undocumented" but it does not change the fact that these people are trespassing in the US. I have auto insurance that covers uninsured motorists no matter what title they wear.. Howard trespassing is illegal. When a person invades and trespasses into a foreign country you don't reward them with privileges. Howard what's next? we buy them the vehicle to drive.

Howard B. Owens
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David, I'm sugar-coating nothing. I'm just giving you cold, hard, immutable facts. You don't have to like the facts but that doesn't change the facts.

As a free-market conservative, I reject all attempts by the government to plan the economy. That's called socialism. Our immigration policies aimed at limiting the labor supply is pure-T socialism. I don't hold it against people when they get in the cross-hairs of unproductive government policies.

Calling them "illegal" or even undocumented is semantics. They are merely fellow human beings trying to make more money. That's a fundamental human right. It's what the free market is all about. I'm not going to demonize people, as you have done, for trying to do right by themselves and their families.

We need immigrants. We should celebrate immigrants, not try to restrict their movements, keep them out, and then blame them for our own policy failures.

And if your insurance company has to cover you because of an uninsured motorist, you know what that means -- higher premiums, and since there's been no effort to ensure the driver is qualified to drive on our roads, which the licensing process is all about, then they're more likely to get in accidents. This simply makes no economic sense.

Howard B. Owens
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Michael Cianfrini, county clerk, emailed me the following message and I'm posting as a comment with his permission.

His statement:

I read your recent comment on the Batavian regarding the so-called “Green Light” legislation to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Your comment was to the effect of “why would anybody be against ensuring drivers on our roads can operate a vehicle safely and have insurance?” I felt compelled to email you regarding the concerns that the County Clerk’s of New York State have with the legislation, and most of the concerns go beyond merely objecting to allowing illegals to drive. I refrained from commenting on the Batavian as I had no interest in engaging in an online comment debate, but as I know you like to gather all information before taking a position, I thought I would share the attached information sheet regarding this legislation. I also include a few of my personal feelings regarding this bill.

I will begin by stating that C.M. Barons is once again wrong when he states “most states have provisions for non-resident driver’s licenses”. The truth is only 12 states plus the District of Columbia allow illegals the privilege of driving. However, in most states, there are very stringent controls put on the issuance of the licenses and may provide for yearly renewals of the licenses. In fact, most have additional requirements beyond what is required of a citizen, and most clearly identify the permittee as a non-citizen. New York has not only refused to include any such controls, but it has completely disregarded the concerns of the elected officials who run the local DMV’s and must implement this law. This law has been promoted largely by downstate, i.e. New York City/Westchester legislators who do not have county run DMV’s in their districts. In essence, they are once again pushing an agenda that for the most part does not affect their own counties, but imposes significant burdens and problems on upstate counties. Notwithstanding this, our concerns center on a few issues that very easily could have been addressed by revising the proposed legislation.

First, almost every day this office is forced to reject applications for driver’s licenses from legal citizens due to the individual not possessing or presenting the documentation necessary to ensure their identity. As a driver’s license is the primary document used to obtain other identification documents, as well as to apply for certain public benefits and services, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that there be no question as to the identity of the individual. Motor vehicle representatives are not Customs or Immigrations agents and do not have the training necessary to identify forged or otherwise fraudulent documents. In most cases, they would not even be able to translate or read a foreign document. Under the proposed legislation, an illegal could merely present a foreign birth certificate, passport or other documents that we have no means of verifying or authenticating, and then sign an affidavit stating that they do not have the other forms of documentation, such as a social security card, required of an American citizen. This is patently unfair to the law abiding citizens of this County and presents a legitimate risk to public safety if a driver’s license can no longer be considered an infallible tool for identification.

In addition, the State has mandated that an individual is afforded the opportunity to register to vote at the time the driver’s license is processed. The touchscreen devices that the State mandated be installed at each cashier station automatically ask the applicant if they are a US citizen and if they would like to register to vote. This electronic voter registration shows on the screen whether the applicant is a U.S. citizen or is here illegally. Our cashiers have no means of monitoring or rejecting an applicant’s submission, so if a non-citizen chooses to answer in the affirmative, they will be allowed to register to vote and the voter registration will automatically be submitted. This would constitute a criminal act. However, even if a cashier witnesses this crime, the legislation forbids any DMV employee from reporting the crime to any state, federal or local law enforcement agency, under penalty of being arrested ourselves. This is unacceptable and poses a threat to the integrity of our entire voting system. The sponsor of the bill falsely stated on the floor of the Assembly that if this occurs the Elections Office will have the means necessary to vet the registration and identify an illegal registrant. I have spoken with our own elections office, as well as other offices across the state and they are universal in their positions that once an individual registers to vote, there is no means by which the elections offices can determine if the person is legally allowed to register. If and when the non-citizen shows up to vote, they will be allowed to do so, despite it being an illegal act.

We also requested that any license issued to an illegal immigrant be clearly marked with some insignia indicating that the person is not a citizen, in order to help ensure the license couldn’t be used to obtain certain benefits or to vote. This suggestion was flatly rejected, and the licenses of the illegals will look exactly like the license issued to legal citizens of this County. If the purpose of the law was truly and merely to allow non-citizens the ability to drive and get insurance, there should be no reason why our recommendations couldn’t have been adopted. From my personal perspective, had our recommendations been considered and adopted, I would not be as opposed to this proposal as I am.

I hope this information is helpful to you, and while it may not change your opinion on the issue, I hope it helps explain why some of us could “be against ensuring drivers on our roads operate a vehicle safely…”. As you can see, that is not the primary objection of many of us. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me."

Tim Miller
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It seems like the state should have considered some of Mr. Cianfrini's and his group's suggestions, and put some restrictions on the licenses - especially registering to vote.

Ed Hartgrove
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Am I wrong? If the "sponsor of the bill falsely stated on the floor of the Assembly that if this occurs the Elections Office will have the means necessary to vet the registration and identify an illegal registrant", isn't that ALSO a crime?

To me, it seems like an elected state official making a false statement, in an to attempt to get a bill passed, would be guilty of "some sort" of a crime, likend to perjury.

Or is it just another case of "one set of laws for the masses, and a different set for the entitled"?

SMH

david spaulding
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Dayem.....So as a citizen who was born in the US and lived here my whole life, it's harder for me to get a driver's license than a foreign trespasser who can't even speak English.. Only in America.....The people proposing this non-sense are elected officials who not only are Not held accountable, they get re-elected every election...Now the illegals will be able to vote too. Campaign signs will be English on one side and Spanish on the other...No one to blame but ourselves...Carry on citizens....

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