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NY Gov. Cuomo says he would sign bill to allow driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at his Midtown Manhattan office on Sept. 14, 2018, in New York City. Cuomo said he will sign a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for a driver's license if it gets to his desk. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

With the New York state Legislature set to consider a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for a driver's license, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will sign it if it gets to his desk, according to the New York Post.

The bill is called the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and state Sen. Luis Supulveda.

What the bill would do: The bill would give illegal immigrants in New York the ability to apply for a legal driver's license, something that 12 states and Washington, D.C., already allow.

What the bill won't do: The bill would not give illegal immigrants the right to vote, something that has been voted down numerous times in the New York City Council, and has not been on the ballot since 2015.

How likely is it to pass? New York's Legislature is fully under Democratic control in 2019, which gives the bill a strong chance to make it to Cuomo, although a spokesman for presumptive state Democratic Party leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins wouldn't commit to reviewing the issue in 2019, citing "many important issues" to be addressed in other areas.

Republican state Sen. Fred Akshar said the bill won't have much support outside New York City.

"This is New, New York,'" Akshar said. "You'd be hard-pressed to find support for this bill outside the five boroughs of New York City. People think we should be taking care of legal citizens. I'm absolutely going to be a 'no' vote on this. It's absolutely the wrong thing to do."

Tried it before: Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer tried to give illegal immigrants access to driver's licenses in 2007 via executive order, but many county clerks rebelled and refused to comply, and the order was rescinded. Some opponents have concerns about national security and terrorism if illegal immigrants are allowed to get licenses.

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