Police chief: Immigration status shouldn't hinder getting a NY driver's license

Posted: Updated:
OSSINING -

The Ossining police chief sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying all residents in New York should have a driver's license regardless of their immigration status in order to enhance public safety.

"The idea is we can either raise the penalties or allow people to get licenses and from my perspective it's not only easier and efficient, but more effective to license people and allow us to make sure every driver on the roadway is subject to the same testing requirements that all the rest of our drivers are now," says Police Chief Kevin Sylvester.

Currently in New York, you can't get a license if you don't have a Social Security number.

Ossining resident and community activist Felix Flores says all drivers, including undocumented people, should have the right to drive legally.

"It's a convenience that allows you to do certain things that help you go on with your life," says Flores. "If you need to go to a doctor's appointment, shopping, looking for a job, or if you want to pick up your kids in school."

Sylvester posted the letter on Facebook and not everyone is in agreement with his stance on the matter. Some residents weighed in and said it's a terrible idea.

Chief Sylvester says he recognizes the challenges, but insists the current strategy needs a change.

There is already a bill on the matter in the state Senate and Assembly. It will be reintroduced in the new year. There will be a community meeting on the topic at the White Plains Library Monday.

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