According to attorney Nicholas Hicks, lawmakers are making progress for the rights of immigrants in the state of New York.
It is widely believed that many accomplishments were made by lawmakers in New York last year surrounding immigration policy. Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that one group, in particular, a progressive organization backed by various business groups, wants to make sure that those accomplishments will actually be followed through. The two new measures are very progressive, marking a turning point for the rights of non-citizens.
The first measure allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license legally. The "Green Light Law" now accepts foreign passports and foreign driver's licenses as forms of identification. According to Attorney Nicholas Hicks, applicants won't have to worry about their information leaking to immigration agencies without a court order. Now, undocumented migrants can live and work in New York without fear of being deported.
Supporters believe the new law will make roads safer and make the economy stronger. Previously when undocumented immigrants got in accidents and fled the scene, it was often hard to identify them or hold them accountable because they were in hiding. The new law is hoping to change that.
Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that some other people are concerned about the lack of training at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Workers have never had to accept foreign documents before and may be overwhelmed by all the new accepted forms. For now, undocumented individuals will have to go to the state office while the transition is made.
The second law that went into effect last year was the DREAM Act, which gives undocumented immigrants living in New York assistance with Tuition. Lawmakers want to help people living in New York reach their full potential, and one-day give back to the state. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that supporters feel the new laws on immigration reform will provide a clearer path to citizenship, and allow immigrants to earn their right to say.
Both measures have also received significant backlash, causing many groups to be concerned about the laws actually being put into effect. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that some people feel like it's wrong to give driver's licenses to thousands of immigrants who broke our laws by entering the country illegally. They argue that immigrants are being rewarded for unlawful behavior.
Additionally, by not allowing the information from licenses to be accessed by the state, it blocks DHS law enforcement officers from investigating serious crimes. People are worried it will open doors for human trafficking, gangs, drug smuggling, and terrorism. Building cases against undocumented immigrants who are bad people will be challenging and leave the state at risk for more criminal activity.
Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that some state residents are also very unsettled about the tuition assistance program for undocumented immigrants. Many people are voicing their beliefs that native-born New York residents should be receiving those perks from their government after working and contributing to the economy for their entire lives.
In a time with so much controversy surrounding immigration policy, it will be interesting to see how the situation plays out in New York. Attorney Nicholas Hicks believes the topic will be followed closely by democrats and conservatives alike.
About Lawyer Nicholas Hicks:
Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care as a child at the age of 5 years old. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. He specializes in various areas of practice, including injury cases, debt elimination, criminal defense, divorce, child support, child custody, and more.