New York’s Governor-to-Be No Longer Wants to Arrest Undocumented Immigrants Applying for Driver’s Licenses

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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has been officially named as New York’s next governor, but there are concerns about Hochul’s history with anti-immigration policies.

In 2007 Hochul threatened to arrest undocumented immigrants who applied for driver’s licenses. At the time, she was serving as the Erie County clerk. Her statements on the issue came as then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer sought to reinstate access to driver’s licenses for all. His predecessor, George Pataki, had changed the law to require Social Security numbers for all those who applied for a driver’s license following 9/11.

“It will be a deterrent, and that’s what I’m looking for,” Hochul said at the time.

She now feels differently.

“Our immigrants need that,” Hochul told THE CITY during a news conference this week. “They need to be able to get to their jobs and parents need to take kids to doctor’s appointments.”

“I had taken a position that has now evolved,” Hochul said. “And that evolution coincides with the evolution of many people in the State of New York.”

It is not the first time Hochul has distanced herself from the tone-deaf remarks.

“I was an elected official in Erie County, and I represented the people of that district,” Hochul said in 2018 per POLITICO.

“What I would say today with respect to the driver’s licenses: It is a whole different era out there. That was 11 years ago, and there were very few people saying that was the right policy at the time. But I have been fighting for immigration reform since I was a staffer for Sen. [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan. I believe this has to come at the federal level — this would make it a lot easier if they would step up and handle the responsibility they have to make sure that … people who are in this country have the right to continue living here and they should have all the rights of citizenship.”

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