New York Considers Proposal to Allow Driver’s Licenses Without Social Security Cards
New York’s Governor Eliot Spitzer has proposed allowing foreign nationals who reside in New York, regardless of status, to obtain driver’s licenses using foreign identity documents, such as passports and birth certificates, without having to present Social Security cards. The idea is to reduce the number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers while aiding law enforcement efforts by increasing the number of license records that could be used in conducting investigations.
The proposal has drawn criticism from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others. Mayor Bloomberg said the proposal would conflict with identity document requirements. “People would need other government ID, generally a passport, and that would be a very big problem. The state’s going to have to work with the federal government in terms of having to fix that problem.” New York Senate Homeland Security Chairman Vincent Leibell (R-Brewster) said the new licensing proposal would not fly. “Just because you change a regulation doesn’t mean you change our statute,” Leibell said, referring to a 1995 law that requires New York’s driver’s license applicants to present a valid Social Security number. In most cases, New York also allows people to drive using valid foreign driver’s licenses.