New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is abandoning a controversial plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, USA Today reports. “The legislature has threatened to stall everything going on in Albany over this issue,” a spokeswoman said. “That’s not acceptable to the governor. Given the current climate, the idea to withdraw the plan is the best way to move forward.” The governor introduced the plan with the goal of increased security, safer roads, and an opportunity to bring illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”
Last month, he sought to salvage the license effort by striking a deal with the Department of Homeland Security to create three distinct types of state driver’s licenses. An illegal immigrant would have received one that says “not for U.S. government purposes,” meaning it could not be used to board airplanes or enter federal facilities. Opponents said Spitzer would make it easier for would-be terrorists to get identification and make the country less safe. About 70 percent of New Yorkers opposed the license plan, according to a Siena College poll released yesterday. Rep. Pete King (R-NY) had planned to introduce legislation to bar states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.