ALBANY, N.Y. — Hundreds of immigrants and supporters rallied at the New York state Capitol March 7 demanding the state issue special driver’s licenses without requiring proof of immigration status.
Participants included dairy, apple and vegetable farmworkers, cleaners and restaurant workers from around the state. Many carried placards for the Green Light NY: Driving Together! campaign organized by the Workers’ Center of Central New York in Syracuse. Make the Road from New York City sent a contingent, as did the Socialist Workers Party.
“We need to drive to work, on the job and to get around to do what we need to do,” Guillermo Chávez, an apple farmworker, told the Militant at the rally.
Among rally speakers were Luis Jimenez, a dairy farmworker from Rochester, and Democratic Party Assemblyman Francisco Moya from Queens. Moya, and Phil Ramos, Democratic Party Assemblyman from Long Island, have introduced a driver’s license bill in the state Assembly.
After a similar campaign by immigrant workers and their allies, authorities in neighboring Vermont began issuing a Driving Privilege Card in 2014 that workers without government-required immigration papers may obtain. Immigrants can now get licenses like this in 12 states and Washington, D.C.