November 14th, 2007
11:45 AM ET
8 years ago

N.Y. governor abandons driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer explains why he dropped his license plan for illegal immigrants.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Wednesday he is giving up his proposal to grant driver's licenses to undocumented workers, a plan he said would "improve the safety and security of the people of my state."

Spitzer said he was giving up because he had concluded that "New York state cannot successfully address this problem on its own."

He said he wanted to act because of the failure of the federal government to deal with immigration policy and the impact that failure was having on New York.

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Filed under: Eliot Spitzer
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Dave,des moines,Iowa

    wow, looks like it didn't work so well for hillary,right Spitzer? The timing of this was during the philly debate, now the denounciation is during Nevada debate. Lets see if we can come up with another formula to suit Hillary. It is all planted!

    November 14, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Anonymous, Hampton, VA

    "One influential member of New York's congressional delegation missing from the briefing was Sen. Hillary Clinton, considered the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. A spokesman from her office said she couldn't attend the news conference because of a scheduling conflict."


    Spitzer's move has Clinton finger prints all over it. Eliminate the issue and the fervor over her support/non-support for Spitzer's plan is neutralized.

    November 14, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Dave,des moines,Iowa

    wow, looks like it didn't work so well for hillary,right Spitzer? The timing of this was during the philly debate, now the denounciation is during Nevada debate. Lets see if we can come up with another formula to suit Hillary. It is all planted! They are all fake people....

    November 14, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Laura - Tulsa OK

    I don't think letting people who obviously have no respect for our laws have carte blanch to receive other benefits and privileges was a good idea to begin with.

    November 14, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Hank, Fort Myers, Fl

    Next fault insurance for New York. So we won't license them...and everybody has to pay–in the form of greater insurance premiums. Classic example of cutting of the nose to spite the face for New Yorkers. Gov. Spitzer, I am not a resident but understand your attempt to address accountability/responsibility for vehicle operation/accidents in your state–great attempt. Too bad your constituent's don't have the vision/trust to believe you can solve one problem without creating another–if everyone works together. It's so much easier to just yell at government to stop illegal immigration–without addressing the problem of legal/illegal immigrants driving everyday on our nations roadways.

    November 14, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Gotcha, Gov'nor! Did your Senator back off this politically suicidal idea or was it yours?

    November 14, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. karin, baltimore, md.

    Well, it's a moot point now, but does anyone know whether or not the "illegal drivers' license program" included verifying that these recipients also purchased the mandatory car insurance ?

    November 14, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. therealist

    Spitzer is giving up only because of Hillary' congressional failure at giving illegals immunity. When is this pitiful 110th Congress going to improve the safety and security of the American people by enforcing our current immigration laws?

    Is there any doubt that Hillary still thinks giving driver licenses to illegals is "a good idea"??

    November 14, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Mary, Beaver, PA

    So, because the feds had "failed" to "deal with immigration policy," Spitzer's "solution" was to give illegals a document that is accepted on face-value as a government-issued ID.

    Besides, what has the federal government "failed" to do? Give carte blanche to everyone who manages to sneak across our borders, while making those who want to come here legally jump through their bureacratic hoops?

    Spitzer, haven't you heard that we are engaged in a war against Terrorism? You are either an idiot, a traitor, or too darned naive to govern.

    November 14, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Kate, Aurora CO

    Spitzer is a fool who used illegal immigration as a political platform. He didn't listen to the over 70% of his state who opposed this idea. The idea of giving an American privilege to people who have broken the law is just atrocious. The idea that giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses would make our cities safer is an even crazier idea.

    November 14, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Jed in Texas

    By giving Illegals voting rights,they hope to over come the Reps. ownership of the fixed Diebold voting machines.Spitzer is owned by Big Insurance companies and was just trying to pay his debt.

    November 14, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. AJ, IL

    Spitzer withdrew his proposal because the Hillary Campaign got to him. Why should Spitzer care about the failure of the federal government illegal immigration policy when he was originally concerned with the "improving the safety and security of the people of NY state"? Governor Spitzer has given up because Hillary convinced him that his action is hurting her campaign. Now Hillary can go into the next Democratic debate and claim she was right to waffle on the illegal immigrats NY licenses issue.

    November 14, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Spitzer and Schwarzenegger both complain that the states are struggling with issues that the federal government is ignoring. The presence of 20 million illegal aliens in our country was caused by fifty years of ignoring the problem, preferring instead to enjoy the benefits of cheap labor.

    Everyone has to get it through their heads that there is no way to deport these people! How would we do it? How long would it take? At sixty per box car it would take 333,000+ box cars to transport them to the border. Why do we imagine that Mexico would accept them? They don't have to, and it would be politically advantageous for the Mexican government to refuse them entry. What would we do about their children, who are American citizens? What about the spouses who are American citizens? How would we handle the protests/riots by their relatives and friends that would occur all over the country? What civil rights would we have to give up so that Immigration officers could kick down any door in which an illegal alien might be living or working?

    The huge hooraw over the drivers' license plan only guarantees that more uninsured drivers will be driving on our roads.

    These people are not going to disappear. We have to deal with them in some way, whether we like it or not. They are here.

    As far as immigration is concerned, I favor an immediate end to all immigration, legal and illegal. There are enough people living in the US now; we don't need more.

    November 14, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Steve in SC

    Sorry, the real reason you gave up is because it was a stupid idea that backfired! If the federal government failed this issue, you probably need to talk to your two senators

    November 14, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    He had no choice but to pull this back, he heard whispers he was going to get "Fostered" or was going to get a "Mr Willey".

    Spitzer isn't as dumb as we thought.

    His "good idea", but self preservation trumps all.

    November 14, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. hal gallow

    biggest sleazebag since cuomo. citizens 1, spitzer 0

    November 14, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Robb, New York

    If Hillary thinks the withdrawal of this plan gets her off the hook from the trouble she ran into during the last debate, she's sadly mistaken. The debate proved that she waffles when the heat's on and there's a tough decision to be made. Even though the Spitzer plan is done, so is she when it comes to being a presidential contender.

    November 14, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. james, austin, tx

    If he really wanted to keep the streets safe and secure, they would be able to deport these illegal immigrants (undocumented workers, for the PC people) everytime one is pulled over. I know, I know, what about racial profiling. getting pulled over for DWB (driving while black) is 100% wrong, cops who practice that should be FIRED. Im not so concerned about DWI(driving while illegal) if they get pulled over bye,bye.

    November 14, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Dave, New York, NY

    Documenting the illegal immigrants already here is a *good* idea, not matter how you slice it. Good for security, and good for our economy, and also *ethically* a good idea.

    Spitzer has a lot of integrity and he has the courage to stand up for what is in our best interests whether or not its popular. Just look at the things he did (and the enemies he made) while DA.

    In the end, he is a reasonable person so he accepted the will of the people. But it is still a bad idea to have a bunch of people driving construction vehicles – and whatever else they are driving – without licenses or any kind of oversight!

    November 14, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Kalvin Tupelo, Miss

    Spitzer, like Hillary, is simply a political animal. He created a "name" for himself by targeting large financial institutions (mutual fund companies) – threatening and suing them over potential investor "fees".

    As Govenor – he proposed drivers licenses for illegals??

    And now that it received national attention he's backing away from it??

    Politicians like Spitzer and Hillary are the PROBLEM. Anything to get votes and only after the polls say it's a bad move do they change positions.

    Anyone but Hillary!!!

    November 14, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. William, NYC

    Spitzer is less popular than Bush. Does that make him the worst governor ever?

    November 14, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Mark, Shreveport, La

    Giving driver's licenses to people without social security numbers and birth certificats?
    What's next, having all road and traffic signs in multiple languages?

    Why would an ILLEGAL immigrant bother to get an ID? He already has no respect for our laws.

    Why would an ILLEGAL immigrant who did take the driver's test and failed stop driving? He already has no respect for our laws?

    How about when the cops pull over an illegal immigrant, they immediately call the INS and turn the ILLEGAL over to the proper authorities?

    November 14, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Sal, NYC, NY

    You are a moron for even trying this.

    November 14, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Dave A Berwyn IL

    If our government would enforce our immigration and labor laws we wouldn't have these problems. We are paying taxes to have our laws enforced, not ignored.

    November 14, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    I served this man food a year ago

    November 14, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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