BREAKING: Driver’s Licenses Coalition Applauds NY Senate’s Historic Passage of Green Light Bill

June 18th, 2019

Advocates Call On Gov. Cuomo to Sign Green Light Legislation Immediately

New York, NY– Today, the Green Light Coalition and state lawmakers hailed the Senate’s historic passage of legislation that would make New York the 13th state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses and called on Governor Cuomo to immediately sign the bill.

Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and convener of the Green Light Coalition, said: "The New York Immigration Coalition applauds Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Deputy Leader Gianaris, bill sponsor Sen. Sepulveda and the members of the Senate Democratic conference for showing what true courage and leadership looks like today by passing the Green Light NY bill. This landmark legislation will protect a quarter-million immigrant New Yorkers by restoring their ability to obtain driver's licenses, while also making our roads safer, our economies stronger, and our communities healthier for all New Yorkers. And the bill already has far and away the strongest privacy provisions of any other state, including preventing immigration status from being listed on any DMV database. Gov. Cuomo has said he's supported this measure since it was first proposed by then Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007. Now it's up to the governor to truly be the champion of New York's immigrants that he claims to be by signing the Green Light bill into law immediately.”

Senator Luis Sepúlveda, Green Light Bill Sponsor, said: “Today’s historic vote on the Green Light Bill shows that we as New Yorkers are committed to the dignity and safety of all of our community members, especially the most marginalized among us. By expanding access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, we are guaranteeing safer roads, stronger economies, increased revenue, keeping families together, and most importantly protecting our children. In a time when immigrants’ rights and livelihoods are being severely threatened, the Green Light Bill is a clear message that we New Yorkers will always choose to lead with courage and love, and to fight for everyone’s right to the American Dream.”

Ignacio Acevedo, Lead Organizer of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, said: “This will be life-changing for the families of the over 100,000 undocumented immigrants in the Hudson Valley that will be eligible to get a license. Now we just need Governor Cuomo to walk his talk, and keep his promise to sign this bill.”

Martin Bautista, member of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, said: "Gracias a todos los asambleístas y senadores que creyeron en nosotros; una licencia de conducir no solo me da mejores oportunidades de vida y trabajo también me brinda la confianza de participar mas apoyando a todos aquellos que nos brindaron su apoyo, Este es el primer paso para forjar el camino para salir de la oscuridad."

"Thanks to all the assembly members and senators that believed in us. A driver’s license not only provides me with better opportunities in life and work, but also gives me the safety to participate more and support all those people who have supported us. This is the first step to creating a path to come out of the shadows."

Jennifer Connor, organizer with Justice for Migrant Families WNY, said, “We have educated, mobilized, and fought incredibly hard both within Western New York and as a statewide coalition to get to this day and we mark the passage of Green Light NY in Senate with joy in our hearts. We uplift and honor the advocates and organizers who are directly impacted, who have spoken out with courage, and for whom the stakes are high and immediate. This is not a political game or strategy for those who are directly impacted and it is necessary and important that New York stands with immigrant families today and every day.”

Silvia Garcia, Long Island resident and member of Make the Road New York, said: “New York’s leadership to restore access to driver’s licenses will transform the lives of thousands of immigrants like me and make our state safer. Families like mine on Long Island and across the state will be able to take our children to school, drive to work and carry out our basic needs, without fear that a traffic stop could separate us from our loved ones. This historic victory will allow New Yorkers to go through the same process as everyone else: submit an application, take a road test, and, if they pass, obtain a license. We look forward to having the Governor sign this bill into law and fully restore access to driver’s licenses to all.”

Emma Kreyche, Statewide Coordinator of Green Light NY with the Workers Justice Center of NY, said: “Immigrant New Yorkers have been fighting for years to restore access to driver’s licenses. Today the NYS Senate has shown its commitment to protecting immigrant New Yorkers and ensuring safer roads for all. This victory belongs to all the directly impacted immigrants and their allies who have worked tirelessly to pass the Green Light bill. Governor Cuomo should sign it into law without delay.”

John Park, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, said, "Today, New York had the courage to stand on the right side of history. With twelve other states having already passed similar legislation, including Republican states like Utah where rates of uninsured motorists and accidents dropped, it is clear this is not a win for one party, but a win for all New Yorkers. Most importantly, we have taken a stand against a federal agenda that has been ripping families and our country apart, and also provided some piece of mind and dignity to all immigrant New Yorkers. We thank Green Light NY and the New York Immigration Coalition, and especially the bill sponsors, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo and Senator Luis Sepulveda, for their continued leadership, and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris for helping get the vote to the Senate floor. Immigrant New Yorkers will remember who had the courage to stand with us today because we made history by doing the right thing."

Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said: “Today’s Senate vote is one for the history books, marking a historic victory for immigrant families all across New York who have led the fight for respect and dignity for our communities. Immigrant New Yorkers have knocked on more than 7,000 doors on Long Island alone, collected thousands of petitions, held countless town halls, and traveled on a near-daily basis to Albany to advance this legislation. Green Light’s passage will bring enormous benefit to all New Yorkers, boosting our state’s economy, creating economic opportunities for immigrants, improving road safety, and keeping families together.

Dalila Yeend, Member of Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, said: "I spent almost 3 months imprisoned and separated from my children for driving without a license. I'm a leader in the Green Light Campaign so this doesn't happen to anyone else. I applaud the courage of the legislature and won't stop until the ink dries on Governor's signature."

Yovani, member of the Workers’ Center of CNY and Green Light Coalition, said: “We are so happy that after fighting all this time, directly affected people, organizers and allies alike are thrilled to see that the senate stands behind us. Governor Cumo  made a commitment to our people to support derives licences, we hope that he is good to his word and to his promises, now it is in his hands to make this a law by signing the bill when it hits his desk. No more games with the lives of immigrant New Yorkers.”