Not All County Clerks Agree On Driver’s Licenses For New York’s Undocumented Immigrants


ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Tompkins County Clerk Maureen Reynolds supports legislation to let undocumented people apply for driver’s licenses but acknowledges that not all county clerks in the state feel that way. In New York, county clerks are the directors of local DMV offices.

The New York State Assembly has passed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses. The Tompkins County Clerk supports the legislation.

website of Tompkins County Clerk

Maureen Reynolds is the Tompkins County Clerk. She supports legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. (Tompkins County Clerk website)

“People are driving with and without licenses,” Reynolds said, “and I would rather they had a license and had insurance, you know because, if say you get into an accident and you know, the other person is driving illegally and they don’t have insurance, you know it makes that whole thing more difficult.”

She believes it would also help farmers by allowing some farm workers to legally drive farm equipment.

While Reynolds supports the legislation, she has some procedural reservations.  She said the DMV must ensure that identification cards issued to undocumented immigrants won’t allow a non-citizen to vote. Plus, she wants the card to look different, so law enforcement and other officials will know that it can not be used to enter federal buildings or board passenger planes.

A June Siena poll found that 53% of New Yorkers oppose driver’s licenses for undocumented people. It is unclear whether the legislation will get a Senate vote before the session ends.