New York State

Hours-Long DMV Wait as Undocumented Immigrants Apply for NY Driver’s Licenses

NBCUniversal, Inc.

What to Know

  • On Monday, the line at the Yonkers DMV wrapped around the block with hundreds of people waiting. People started lining up before 8 a.m.
  • Undocumented immigrants officially have the “green light” in New York – they can now apply for a state driver’s license thanks to the Green Light Law
  • The Democrat-led state Senate voted 33-29 in favor of the bill in June

Undocumented immigrants officially have the “green light” in New York – they can now apply for a state driver’s license thanks to the Green Light Law.

On Monday, the line at the Yonkers DMV wrapped around the block with hundreds of people waiting -- many to obtain their license.

People started lining up before 8 a.m. As of 11:30 a.m. many were on line for more than three hours. However, the wait did not end once they entered the DMV, because once inside the building they had to wait another three and a half hours to apply for the driver permit/license.

Most of those waiting on line told News 4 they were excited to finally get their license after waiting for years for the opportunity. Some said they are afraid the right won’t last and wanted to take advantage as soon as the right rolled out.

Additionally, many waiting say the roads will now be safer for everyone since more people will have taken the test, gotten car insurance and proven they can drive safely.

New York became the 13th state to authorize driver's licenses for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally under legislation approved by lawmakers.

The Democrat-led state Senate voted 33-29 in favor of the bill in June after several hours of debate and was quickly signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

However, the move has proven controversial. While advocacy groups cheered the move, some opponents think it will de-incentivize people to become citizens.

New York is restoring a right undocumented immigrants had before the 9/11 terror attacks: The right to obtain a state driver’s license. While advocacy groups cheered the move, some opponents think it will de-incentivize people to become citizens. NBC 4 New York’s Andrew Siff reports.

Supporters included the Business Council of New York State, the state's largest business organization, as well as many immigrant advocates who argued that immigrants, especially upstate, require licenses to get to work, care for their families and take care of everyday tasks.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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