New York state lawmakers on Monday handed a controversial invoice granting driver’s licenses to unlawful immigrants — and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is anticipated to signal it.
Democrats within the state Senate managed to move the invoice on a 33-29 vote, regardless of dropping all six of their Lengthy Island members over fears the invoice might show politically poisonous of their swing districts.
“We’re treating the individuals who have damaged our regulation, who’re criminals [like law-abiding citizens]. This laws will result in extra unlawful immigration,” Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-Chemung) fumed as he voted towards the measure.
However Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens), a champion of the invoice, shot again to naysayers through the debate, “Watch out, your xenophobia is displaying.”
The Meeting OK’d the invoice final week, and it now heads to Cuomo’s desk for his signature.
The Senate vote got here after days of intense talks that have been largely wrapped up over the weekend — and regardless of continued opposition from Lengthy Island Democrats representing doubtlessly aggressive districts and an MS-13 gang disaster.
A current Siena Ballot introduced these fears dwelling when it reported that voters statewide opposed the measure 53 to 41 p.c, with 55 p.c of impartial voters towards it.
The regional breakdowns weren’t significantly better: Solely 40 p.c of suburban voters favored it and upstate voters hated it much more with simply 35 p.c assist.
Republicans pounded the Lengthy Island Democrats earlier than and through the Senate debate in a probable preview of political assaults to return in 2020 elections.
“Disgrace on the Democrats for bringing this invoice to the ground — and the Lengthy Island Democrats,” Senate Minority Chief John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) informed The Put up earlier than the vote.
“The Democratic senators mentioned they’d get right here and defend the pursuits of Lengthy Island they usually wouldn’t permit New York Metropolis to manage and dominate the agenda. They’ve failed miserably.”
Monday’s vote moved the struggle over driver’s licenses from the Meeting and Senate chambers to the governor’s workplace, the place the invoice awaits both Cuomo’s signature or veto.
Cuomo professed his assist for the proposal for years, however threw supporters a last-minute curveball when he requested the state’s prime civil lawyer, Solicitor Basic Barbara Underwood, to overview the measure for potential security issues — threatening to veto it if he didn’t like her evaluation.
“You can create a database for the feds to make use of to truly monitor down undocumented folks,” Cuomo mentioned on WAMC radio. “California handed a regulation, and they’re now in litigation.”
Underwood’s boss, Lawyer Basic Tish James, launched an announcement amid the Monday-night vote arguing that the invoice is legally sound.
“The laws is well-crafted and accommodates ample protections for individuals who apply for driver’s licenses. If this invoice is enacted and challenged in court docket, we are going to vigorously defend it,” she mentioned.
The Counsel to the Governor, Alphonso David, later launched an announcement saying “the governor will signal the invoice.”
Nonetheless, Cuomo’s last-minute transfer left supporters furious.
“None of those issues have been relayed to us. Why now?” invoice sponsor Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx) mentioned Monday.
Proponents have lengthy argued that the invoice would enhance security on the roads by guaranteeing drivers are correctly educated and licensed and that it might assist higher combine New York’s estimated 265,000 unlawful immigrants into the state’s financial system and society.
Twelve different states and the District of Columbia already permit them to get licenses.
Republican opponents declare the invoice might permit the unlawful immigrants to register to vote.
“We are able to’t even get residents to the polls to vote,” quipped supporting state Sen. Kevin Parker (D–Brooklyn), referring to the nation’s historically dismal voter turnout.
The vote was the end result of a struggle that first started in 2007 when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer tried to make use of his govt energy to undo a requirement imposed after the 9/11 terror assaults that candidates will need to have a Social Safety card to qualify for a driver’s license.
Spitzer backed down within the face of an enormous rebel from upstate Democrats and Republicans who assailed the transfer, which despatched his ballot numbers tumbling.
Further reporting by Max Jaeger