Q&A of the Day – New York’s driver's licenses for illegal immigrates & ICE
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1
Gov Cuomo Monday night signed legislation granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, is he assisting our President’s plan for ICE deportations by creating a database?
Bottom Line: This is an interesting line of thinking... I’ll dive in. On Monday, as was noted, New York signed into law the ability for illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. This is set to commence in about six months. The law itself was generally modeled off of California’s law which they passed in 2013. The California law and the new, New York law, included language about the database not being used for immigration purposes. Here’s the specifically included language: the information obtained can’t be used as evidence of the citizenship or immigration status.Is that the end of the story and the answer to your question? No.
While states like California and New York can craft law to attempt to thwart federal authority, they can’t override federal authority. Since California's law passed,there are numerous instances in which ICE has accessed and utilized California’s DMV to obtain and track down illegal immigrants. This would likely be the case in New York as well. There is a catch, however. They don’t know what they don’t know. The documented cases of California’s DMV database being used to apprehend illegal immigrants have occurred as ICE sought to locate those who’ve already been processed by the legal system and ordered for deportation. Without information in hand there’s really no way for ICE to easily discern illegal immigrants in the database from legal citizens. That’ll likely be the case in New York as well. I could see the potential for an “ICE task force” that’d be dedicated to reviewing the DMV records for non-citizens for that purpose – though that’s not something that’s being considered currently (as far as I’m aware). But back to your original point, yes, there’s the potential for ICE to access the database and the opportunity for it to be somewhat useful for immigration enforcement. It’s a good, somewhat counter-intuitive point.