CIANA Explains: The Green Light Bill


CIANA Intern Henry Cornejo participating in a Green Light Action in Astoria, NY, March 2019. Photo: Maria Eliades

Cheers erupted in the New York State Senate after the long battle to secure licenses for undocumented immigrants in New York was finally won. On June 17th, 2019, New York became the 13th state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. The victory of the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, more commonly known as the Green Light NY Bill, fulfils Governor Andrew Cuomo’s November 2018 promise that the bill would pass in the 2019 legislative session. The bill, which has been years in the making, puts New York on par with 12 other states that had already granted the right to a driver’s licence to immigrants regardless of status.

CIANA found itself at the forefront of the charge for the bill as a part of the Green Light NY: Driving Together campaign, which brought together a statewide coalition of organizations and partners fighting for the rights of all New Yorkers through online and offline actions.

With the enactment of this bill, New Yorkers will see several changes go into effect that will bolster the economy as well as make streets safer. Read on to learn about all the changes the Green Light bill initiates and how it will impact your day-to-day life in New York.

What the Bill Does Not Mean

  • Undocumented Drivers will NOT be able to register to vote with these licenses

  • Voter registration still requires each registrant to sign an affidavit confirming their status as a citizen.