New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed on Monday the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, also known as the “Green Light Bill”, which amends the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. The bill authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue standard drivers’ licenses and restricts what information can be retained and given out on those applying or holding standard driver’s licenses.
The bill adds restrictions on the disclosure of personal information from non-commercial driver’s license applications and on the release of records to immigration and law enforcement agencies. With respect to the application process, the bill expands the types of document allowed to include documents that do not meet federal standards for identification, including valid foreign passport and foreign driver’s license.
The New York State Senate said that “not allowing undocumented persons to have licenses issued by DMV has had and is continuing to have a negative impact on the economy.” As for the purpose and effect of the bill, “this legislation allows for the issuance of a driver’s license, protects the data of those applying for such privilege from unwarranted release and moves New York closer to recognizing the huge and positive economic impact undocumented residents have on the economy.”
New York will be the thirteenth state to authorize drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants.