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Letters: Debate over licenses for those here illegally

Reader letters to Newsday for Sunday, June 16, 2019

Members of the State Assembly vote on legislation

Members of the State Assembly vote on legislation during a session in the chamber last month. Photo Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

I must take issue with the State Assembly’s passage of a bill that would allow people in the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses [“Driver’s license bill clears Assembly, but fate unclear,” News, June 13].

Those here illegally should not be rewarded or encouraged. This bill does both. That it would ensure insurance coverage is a false premise. They are not allowed to work and employers are not allowed to hire them, making the premise of making it easier for them to get to work similarly false. Many of those here illegally work for cash, which goes unreported and untaxed. Immigration is an important aspect of our economy but we should encourage legal immigration along with legal employment.

Roy J. Sperrazza,

Northport

 

As someone who taught drivers’ ed for more than three decades, I take issue with those who would deny licensing immigrants here illegally.

In general, even taking licenses away as punishment is problematic. Anyone who violates the law resulting in license suspension, likely would violate the law and drive anyway.

The same applies to denying anyone a driver’s license because they are here illegally. Only now they haven’t taken licensing written and road tests. They are unable to get insurance so it becomes my problem; the uninsured drivers part of my coverage, which was negligible when I first purchased it, now is a substantial portion of my policy.

It’s a problem, but let’s make the roads safer and maybe cheaper!

Paul Pepe,

Massapequa

How could this happen? How will those in the country illegally prove who they really are?

We went to apply for a new license/renewal and we had to prove with documents who we were; one document had a middle initial, while another didn’t. It took us weeks to track down baptismal certificates and new Social Security cards, and we are American citizens. How do immigrants here illegally plan to get a license? What form of identity will they produce?

Camille Morselli,

Islip Terrace

  

Regarding letters arguing that immigrants here illegally should not be rewarded with driver’s licenses [“Driver’s licenses for people here illegally,” Letters, June 13], a few thoughts on illegality in American political history.

There have been times when our laws have been so out of touch with society’s needs or moral principles that they caused illegal behaviors. Think of the abolitionists who willfully violated the Fugitive Slave Act by hiding runaway slaves. Or Rosa Parks who broke Alabama law by sitting in the front of a public bus. Or the millions of Americans who illegally consumed alcohol in violation of U.S. prohibition laws. Our current federal immigration laws are out of touch with both society’s needs and moral principles.

Twenty years of Democratic and Republican efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform have failed due to Congressional inaction. New York State cannot fix broken federal immigration laws. But New York can make the lives of these hardworking immigrants easier while making our roads safer by granting them driver’s licenses and access to automobile insurance.

Richard Koubek,

Dix Hills

  

Editor’s note: The writer is community outreach coordinator for Long Island Jobs with Justice, an advocacy organization based in Hauppauge.

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