A security measure put in place after September 11 is being changed, and that's drawing concerns across the Empire State. Right after the terrorist attacks, New York State required people to have a social security number to obtain a driver's license. It proved to be a big restriction for millions of undocumented immigrants. So Governor Spitzer lifted the rule despite some opposition.
"The state's new policy will legitimize those who violate the nation's immigration law," said Cheryl Dinolfo, the Monroe County Clerk.
"This is a common sense approach to a genuine problem," said Governor Eliot Spitzer.
The governor says the new policy will make roads safer for motorists and give people "in the shadows" a real identity. But Dinolfo says the policy invites terrorists to New York State.
Starting next year, a foreign passport will be accepted in lieu of a social security number. Dinolfo says that's not going to cut it when it comes to security.
"Where is the check on whether or not that passport was validly obtained?"
The DMV commissioner says the state is on top of it. The state plans on adding new anti-fraud technology.
And the governor says, with "real I.D.'s" for illegal immigrants, come safer roads across the state. According to a AAA report, unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be in a fatal crash.
"No one should be under the mis-impression that those who could not get driver's licenses in the past, as we are now permitting them, did not drive," Spitzer said. "They drove unlicensed or they drove with false licenses."
Dinolfo plans on asking the Governor to rescind the policy.