County clerk weighs in on licensing debate

CHENANGO COUNTY – While 29 county clerks from across the state are strongly opposing Governor Eliot Spitzer’s push to license immigrants without Social Security numbers, Chenango’s clerk says it’s too early to weigh-in on the still-developing plan that many claim will arm illegal aliens and terrorists.

“I’m not opposed. I’m not for it,” said county clerk Mary Weidman. “It’s still too early to tell.”



The first phase targets legal New York residents who have previously held driver’s licenses but lost them due to Social Security number issues. However, the hotly-debated second phase, which is still in development, removes restrictions that prevented illegals from getting licenses in the past, but it’s unclear if that’s who’s being targeted, considering Spitzer is still seeking to make state residency a requirement for all new applicants.

Regardless, Weidman says neither she, nor any other clerk, are in a position to challenge policies handed down from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We’re not policy makers, we’re agents of the DMV,” said Weidman. “Regardless of my personal feelings, I’m legally committed to be an agent of the DMV.”

Implimenting the plan should not be a problem, since their function will only be to gather information, Weidman says, adding that decisions on the new licenses will be made in Albany.

Spitzer has reversed a 1995 DMV law created under then governor George Pataki that says applicants for a driver’s license have to provide a valid Social Security number. Pataki’s law prevented illegal immigrants from getting licenses, but also deterred legal immigrants – of all backgrounds – from renewing theirs, which required them to go through a federal procedures to prove they were U.S. citizens that are “ineligible” for a Social Security number, Spitzer claims.


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