Undocumented immigrants can now get driver’s licenses in N.Y. state

FILE - In this June 17, 2019 file photo, a protester holds a sign as members of the state Assembly speak in favor of legislation of the Green Light Bill, granting undocumented immigrant driver's licenses during a rally at the state Capitol, in Albany, N.Y. The bill passed making New York the 13th state to authorize licenses for drivers without legal immigration status. On Monday, Dec. 16 license applicants without a valid Social Security number will be able to apply for a driver's license. An estimated 265,000 immigrants without legal documents are expected to get driver's licenses within three years, more than half of them in New York City, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute.(AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

Illegal immigrants flocked to get their New York driver’s licenses Monday, creating hours-long lines outside Department of Motor Vehicles offices across the state on Monday, CBS2 has reported.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the law in June which allows individuals to apply for a driver’s license without a Social Security number. Applicants are now allowed to use alternate IDs like passports and driver’s licenses from other countries.

Santon Leonel in the United States illegally from Honduras, said every second he waited in line was worth it. “I didn’t sleep at all last night because I wanted to be here this morning and I’m here,” he said.

His father is an undocumented immigrant from Honduras and he has lived in the U.S. for 14 years. He joined thousands of others on Monday, applying for a New York license for the first time after the state’s so-called “Green Light Law” went onto effect on Monday.

“I’m so excited that this is happening in New York,” Leonel said. “I’m in the need of a license because I have seven children and it’s hard for me to travel,” fellow immigrant Yadhira Alcazar added,

Massive lines formed outside DMVs across the state, including on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, where one man was in line an hour before the office even opened.

“We waited for four hours. We come like 7:30. I’m so happy because I get it,” the man said.

Late Monday afternoon, the New Jersey Legislature passed bills to expand access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status, age or gender identity. The bill is next expected to go to Gov. Phil Murphy.


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