License to Debate

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The New York State Senate is trying to block Governor Spitzer's plan to issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. State Senators Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) and Frank Padavan (R-Queens) debate the issue.

Jose Serrano (D-Bronx):

Frank Padavan: (R-Queens):


Frank Padavan and Jose Serrano

Comments [22]


It’s a drivers license, not a pilots license, not a passport, not an alien card. Its sole purpose should be as proof that the holder has sufficient ability to operate a certain class of motor vehicle. For everything else, passport! The last thing I want when I go to motor vehicles is having to bring a dozen documents.

Oct. 23 2007 03:36 PM
edgar kane from brooklyn

If we are to follow the logic, i.e. talk of race totally aside and not to be considered... then I propose that the treatment proposed here and being granted in many places be extended to all citizens.

That is: official state documentation (e.g. licenses) without question, home loans without all of the paperwork generated by credit reporting and other considerations, bank accounts at major banks without personal documentation.

Now back to the racists. They have so shot themselves in the foot as to cloud the logic here above. We are essentially offering a pretty attractive streamlined life to illegal immigrants. The overwhelming proportion of those for whom race is a concern have no compunction about using the labor...not recognizing that the labor is attached to a person.

In short, by some backward logic, fomented by a backward race view, we are allowing express benefits beyond what legal citizens currently receive.

If I walk in to a Bank and ask for an account with no driver's license, I won't get it.

I won't get a home without credit checks.

The real question is how we will either legalize this labor force and pay the real cost of that (real wages, benefits) or be willing to dismiss them. Dismissiing won't happen.

We will continue to try to have cake... eat too.

Oct. 23 2007 02:24 PM

why there is so much furor over this issue? the way i see it, it's not a right or left issue. it's a matter of documenting undocumented people. provision of license does not equate to legal status. if people just stop and listen to what spitzer's argument for allowing illegal immigrants to possess a license, i think that you would find that there are some very good reasons. the most important being that people will have valid, underline valid, identification. we all know how easy it's to obtain reliable fakes. however, i agree with a few above posters that lower insurance or more insured drivers and such are hogwash.
p.s. illegal or otherwise immigrants are a good thing.

Oct. 23 2007 01:51 PM
chestine from NY

sixty year old sperm is not considered the best -

Oct. 23 2007 11:45 AM
World's Toughest Milkman from the_C_train

Issuing licenses to illegals is utterly idiotic, and more so for the inane reasons Kelly and Suozzi stated in previous segments. There is no guarantee that people will come out "of the dark", they might be more inclined that it is a path to deportation, also since they are here illegally who is to say that any of their papers, if they have any at all are legitimate. Stopping after a hit-and-run, since when has having a license ever been a deterrent from that! And the biggest fkn fairytale about insurance prices going down, holy shite you must be kidding, that's up there as one of the ten greatest lies of all time. I'm pro immigration as long as it is done legally, we have laws on the books that are being ignored and have been for decades.

Oct. 23 2007 11:23 AM
Steve from NYC

I can't believe they are seriously considering giving driver licenses to illegal immigrants. Giving an illegal a driver license sends a message that it is ok to sneak into America, more than that, it puts them on a path to citizenship. What's next, give them the right to vote or welfare? My father is a legal immigrant, my girlfriend is a legal immigrant. This proposal is a slap in their faces and everyone else who followed the law and spent the money and time to work here or to become legal citizens.

If the US needs these unskilled workers so badly why not introduce a foreign worker program that would give young people the chance to come to the US for 2-3 years. As for security, the 9/11 terrorists were not illegal immigrants.

If you are here illegally you should be deported, that's the law. If you employ illegal workers, you should be fined, that's the law. Illegal workers put an unfair advantage to employers who are willing to break the law and exploit these people.

Saving money on insurance is a ridiculous argument. I put it in the same bucket as drilling polar ice caps, short term financial gains for major long term problems. I can't believe I agree with a Republican.

Oct. 23 2007 11:10 AM
Jack Green from Manattan, NY

The 9/11 terrorists were NOT illegal immigrants. I don't understand why the senator gets in a tizzy about separating illegal and legal immigrants, but lumps together immigrants and terrorists.

Combining the real ID with the driving liscence would NOT have stopped the 9/11 terrorists. Will senator Padavan just admit this and stop tarring immigrants?

His plan makes america NO MORE SECURE. There is not one terrorist plan that would have been stopped by a drivers liscence requirement, nor has one been committed by an illegal immigrant.

Are we supposed to believe we are safe because an illegal immigrant terrorist might be inconvenienced by not having a drivers liscence and (gasp) driving a car anyway?

Oct. 23 2007 10:39 AM
Nelson from NYC

OK, judging from this conversation, I think the terrorists of 9/11 accomplished their mission. We've completely lost our minds and left behind "land of the free, home of the brave". We now operate in a state of terror and we fear everyone, everyone is suspect, nobody is safe...


Oct. 23 2007 10:37 AM
aortiz from park slope

IT IS A FACT THAT YOU CAN BOARD A FLIGHT WITH JUST PASSPORT.. I grew up here; as such I have not gotten around to getting a drivers license and I have just returned from my honeymoon...I DID NOT NEED A LICENSE AS I.D

Oct. 23 2007 10:36 AM

Sorry but I LOVE these guys!

Goodbye Kurtis and Koobie, Hello Serrano and Patevan!

Oct. 23 2007 10:34 AM

I thought the right was synonymous with rude bully

Oct. 23 2007 10:33 AM


Oct. 23 2007 10:32 AM
Jen from Brooklyn

People aren't talking about the real problem:

Federal immigration laws are flawed and the Federal government needs to change their laws.

Arguing about the rules about IDs in one state while the overarching law is incorrect is like arguing about the legality of shot glasses in New York while a federal law prohibiting alcohol consumption exists.

Oct. 23 2007 10:28 AM
Liz from brooklyn

Who says they would get license if they could?

Oct. 23 2007 10:27 AM
Rose from Jackson Heights

Sen Padavan's argument about "illegal" vs "legal" immigrants ignores the fact that our immigration system is broken. And we have an obligation to oppose unjust laws. Meanwhile, if he has gone to any restaurant in Queens, he is relying on undocumented immigrants to provide his food. If he is willing to accept their labor, he should be defending the rest of their rights to participate in NY, including getting drivers licenses.

Oct. 23 2007 10:27 AM
hjs from 11211

why do you always choose the rudest bullies to represent the right?
it would be a more fair debate if you invited someone on the right who could discuss a topic without talking over people. without rambling on and on. not to mention getting someone who knows the facts.
it's like watching CNN!

Oct. 23 2007 10:26 AM
Marco from Manhattan

I'm a naturalized American. I now ask myself why I went through endless paperwork to obtain legal status in this country. Bleeding heart liberals pandering to their "undocumented" constituency are not the type of government I signed on for.

Oct. 23 2007 10:26 AM


I doubt people in this country will ever come to terms with their racism. If you point it out now they say bigoted things like "playing the race card" or "not everything's about race" other words they don't want to look at their own inherent racism.

Oct. 23 2007 10:20 AM
aortiz from park slope

Ahh that was awesome! Brian wipped out the 911 commission book, and now that hack is changing his story...

Oct. 23 2007 10:20 AM
Leo L from Rego Park, NY

The Republicans FAILED to pass a comprehensive immigration plan to address the open borders and they are not continuing to push immigrants further underground. WHY are Republicans so afraid of addressing illegal immigration problems? They are now blaming illegals for the problems that they themselves have helped to create. Let's work to implement the governor's license proposal through real work.

Oct. 23 2007 10:18 AM
Susan from New York

Several of the 9/11 terrorists walked over the unguarded US Canadian border not the US Mexican border. We have many illegal aliens in this country that are not terrorists from all over the world. It seems that a lot of Americans have a problem with people who don't look them or that have darker complexions. I would rather have the illegal aliens who are driving to work to have valid licenses. I think that people in this country need to come to terms with their racism.

Oct. 23 2007 10:15 AM
Dan Fielding

I love a good filibuster in the morning.

Oct. 23 2007 10:13 AM

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