ALBANY – It’s the last tier of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s new “three-tier” identification plan that has Senate Republicans vowing to block funding for the program come budget time in Albany.
That’s the part allowing illegal aliens to apply for a driver’s license in New York state.
“I was taught that ‘illegal’ is wrong,” said Senator Tom Libous (R-Binghamton), following a Senate hearing Wednesday in Albany on the governor’s license policy. “It’s just wrong to give illegal aliens a driver’s license. They don’t deserve that privilege.”
Opponents argue the policy will strengthen illegal immigration’s foothold in the state and weaken New York’s and the nation’s security.
Spitzer says it will make the roads safer with legal drivers and allow illegals to be tracked better in the system.
Under the governor’s “three-tiers,” New York will offer three different licenses:
• An “Enhanced Driver’s License” for crossing the New York-Canadian border.
• A federally-approved license to fly on planes.
• A “basic” New York State license for driving and identification purposes.
Spitzer announced the plan Saturday in Washington as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The first two licenses comply with soon-to-be implemented stricter federal I.D. regulations for all U.S. citizens.
“Undocumented” aliens, as Spitzer refers to them, will be eligible to apply for the “basic” license.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called part of Spitzer’s plan, which will use fraud resident cards and high tech face and document scanning equipment to verify applicant’s identities, “a major step forward for security, both for New York and for the country.”