Gov. Andrew Cuomo is about to enter his fourth year in office and possibly seek re-election, or even pursue higher aspirations.
In a few years, Cuomo has ushered in key and historic changes from merging and closing correctional facilities to the legalization of same sex marriage.
The great disappointment however comes with his lack of effort around bills that would help the Dreamers, undocumented youth who were given a temporary legal status by President Obama.
The New York state DREAM Act and New York DREAM fund bill, which would let student immigrants apply for state financial aid. The measure would cost between $17 and $25 million, a tiny percentage of New York state’s budgetbut it has no chance of becoming legislation without the support of the Senate’s co-presidents, Democrat Jeff Klein and Republican Dean Skelos. Although the Assembly passed this bill, there has been no vocal backing from the executive.
While momentum is also building around allowing undocumented immigrants to access driver’s licenses, the governor has also been quiet on this as well.
A bill introduced by Senator Jose Peralta would let undocumented immigrants apply for driver’s licenses in New York.
Providing access to driver’s licenses would increase public safety, ashaving this type of identification would ensure that immigrants who drive do so legally and safely, benefitting all of the state’s residents. The bill would encourage immigrants to emerge from the shadows and play a more active role in the state’s economy. Clearly, for immigrant workers and families in upstate areas that are underserved by public transportation, this bill would make a difference. Driver licenses for immigrants have already become law in 14 states and Washington, D.C., even though many of these jurisdictions have strong Republican base.
We understand that Republican opposition and their Democratic allies in Albany are throwing stones in the path of these measures. But this is nothing new. And Cuomo has shown his political astuteness at rallying politicians on both sides of the aisle to come along on laws that are overdue.