New York state lawmakers on Monday passed a controversial bill granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it.
Democrats in the state Senate managed to pass the bill on a 33-29 vote, despite losing all six of their Long Island members over fears the bill could prove politically toxic in their swing districts.
“We are treating the people who have broken our law, who are criminals [like law-abiding citizens]. This legislation will lead to more illegal immigration,” Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-Chemung) fumed as he voted against the measure.
But Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens), a champion of the bill, shot back to naysayers during the debate, “Be careful, your xenophobia is showing.”
The Assembly OK’d the bill last week, and it now heads to Cuomo’s desk for his signature.
The Senate vote came after days of intense talks that were largely wrapped up over the weekend — and despite continued opposition from Long Island Democrats representing potentially competitive districts and an MS-13 gang crisis.
A recent Siena poll brought those fears home when it reported that voters statewide opposed the measure 53 to 41%, with 55% of independent voters against it.
The regional breakdowns weren’t much better: Only 40% of suburban voters favored it and upstate voters hated it even more with just 35% support.