Almost 250,000 of them live in the suburbs and upstate, where people rely on cars to get to work and school. That’s why the governor and legislative leaders have proposed legislation to let undocumented immigrants receive driver’s licenses, as a dozen states and the District of Columbia do.
Under legislation pending in Albany, applicants would no longer be required to show proof they are in the country legally. They could use foreign passports to establish their identity and obtain a standard driver’s license, once, of course, they pass the same tests as everyone else.
There are an estimated 725,000 undocumented immigrants in New York State, making up more than 5 percent of the labor force in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center. They pay $1.1 billion in state and local taxes each year, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates.