When the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo ushered through a law this week that allows undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for driver’s licenses in New York State, they did so with the understanding that this is not only an economic benefit for the state, but also a law that will increase safety. For the East End, home to many undocumented immigrants who are not only a critical part of the economy, but thriving members of our community, there is now a path forward to comply with laws that demand drivers be licensed through a testing process that leads to safer roadways for everyone.
We have fairly poor public transportation options on the South Fork. The “Green Light Bill” ensures safer roadways, but also goes a long way to ensuring that these undocumented immigrants have the ability to legally drive to work, drive their children to school and make it to healthcare appointments.
New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. deserves credit for his sponsorship and steadfast support of this legislation, and we agree with him that those who oppose the bill because of federal immigration policy — including our own New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle — are being short sighted.