Advocates Call on Niagara County Legislature Chairman Keith McNall to Protect Community & Expand Economy by Supporting #DriversLicensesNOW

April 9th, 2019

Advocates Call on Niagara County Legislature Chairman Keith McNall to Protect Community & Expand Economy by Supporting #DriversLicensesNOW

Niagara County, NY – Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature, W. Keith McNall (R-Lockport), continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of local community members who have been calling for access to driver’s licenses for all New York residents, irrespective of immigration status. While Governor Cuomo, State Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and prominent law enforcement officials have publicly voiced support for the policy, Chairman Keith McNall continues to ignore the positive impact that driver’s licenses can have on the local economy, public safety and the lives of working people in the region.

“It is irresponsible to oppose a bill that would ensure all drivers are properly licensed, registered and make New York State’s roads safer for everyone. Expanding access to driver’s licenses would add an estimated $57 million in annual revenue to the state economy, while allowing our immigrant communities to safely navigate the everyday demands of providing for their families just like the rest of us. Niagara County deserves leadership that understands the needs of their constituents and works to serve all of its community members," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

“We need access to driver’s licenses to go shopping, to the doctor, to church and last but not least to identify ourselves. I have worked in Niagara county for 7 years and when I was driving to work I was turned over to border patrol. I am facing deportation and separation from my children because NY state is behind 12 other states. As a dairy worker in Niagara county I contribute to the economy of the region and it's time that I am able to get in line at the DMV, pay registration and insurance in order to provide for my family,” said Miguel Resendiz, dairy worker from Niagara County.

“Justice for Migrant Families WNY supports restoring access to a standard driver license for all people, determined by a driving test and application and not based on immigration status. Access to a license makes roads and communities safer for all people. We oppose this kind of knee-jerk reaction on the issue that results in discrimination against workers on farms and in orchards across Western New York and certainly across Niagara County. Right now, every day the lack of a license hurts farms, farmers, workers, families, and children whose parents are affected. We believe that New York should support farms, farmers, workers, families, and children by passing driver license legislation now, and that the passage of this bill better represents who we are as a region than continued grandstanding by right-wing elected officials,” said Jennifer Connor, coordinator for Justice for Migrant Families.