Plan would create three separate but secure driver's licenses.
Standing beside Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff on Saturday, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer announced a new plan to make New York's driver's licenses the most secure in the nation.
According to the press release on the governor's Web site, the plan has three basic features :
- New York State will continue to move forward with its plan to license undocumented immigrants, but will now implement that policy in tandem with the implementation of modified REAL ID regulations. When combined with the anti-fraud security measures DMV has already announced, according to DHS Secretary Chertoff, “These techniques will make New York licenses among the most secure in the country.”
- The Department of Homeland Security will allow New York State’s DMV to begin offering an “Enhanced Drivers License” that will allow Western and Northern New Yorkers to cross the New York-Canadian border without a passport. This is critical because next year the federal government has mandated that New Yorkers will no longer be able to cross the New York-Canadian border without a passport. This agreement will ensure that the Upstate Economy does not suffer from this new federal mandate.
- The Department of Homeland Security, in its final regulations of REAL ID, will address the Administration’s main concerns regarding the original draft regulations and, as a result, New York’s licensing system will be in near compliance with the anticipated final regulations as DHS has laid out. This accommodation will allow us to implement REAL ID far sooner than expected. The final regulations, which are due out in the next month or two, will be far less expensive to implement, and will address convenience and privacy concerns.
As a result, New York will have three separate but secure driver's licenses: the aforementioned "Ehanced Driver's License" that is as secure as a passport, a federally-approved license that will be sufficient for air travel, and a New York state license.
The state license will be for driving and identification purposes and will be open to illegal aliens.
Critics, though, are still angry illegal aliens will be able to obtain the New York state driver's license, the Associated Press reports .
"It's about time that Governor Spitzer is understanding of the fact that giving licenses without the requirement of a Social Security Number is flawed," said Republican state Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn. But he said the Senate's Republican majority will still seek to alter Spitzer's plan to make sure illegal immigrants can't get any version of the license.
Spitzer is not cowed by his opposition and praised Chertoff for allowing New York to give illegal aliens driver's licenses.
“This agreement also demonstrated the benefits of putting politics aside when advancing sound policy. I respect Secretary Chertoff’s feelings about providing undocumented immigrants with driver's licenses, and applaud him and the Department of Homeland Security for recognizing that this is a state decision and that we can still implement such a policy in ways that will make the system safer and secure for all Americans.”