Illegal immigrants can have driving licence in New York: Governor

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Washington, Oct 28 (UNI) Illegal immigrants in New York would be able to obtain driving licence but it would not be accepted as identification to board planes or cross borders, Gov Eliot Spitzer has declared.

The decision came after weeks of furore over the governor's proposal on same kind of driving licence being obtained by the illegal immigrants as other New Yorkers.

Other New Yorkers who can prove that they are legal residents of the United States would be eligible for federally recognised ID cards, New York Times newspaper reported.

These would serve as driver's licenses and would be accepted as identification for a number of purposes, including boarding planes and entering federal facilities.

The new plan reflects the increasingly complicated security requirements that have been developed by the federal government since the September 11 attacks.

The State Legislature had expressed concern about any extension of licenses to illegal immigrants. It would be required to provide the funds for the new system, which is expected to be costly.

Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, however, said ''I don't endorse giving licenses to people who are not here legally, but federal law does allow states to make that choice.'' Licenses that do not meet federal requirements should be clearly so labeled, he added.

Under the plan, legal residents can obtain a federally recognised identification card known as a Real ID. The highly secure identification card is expected to be phased in nationwide by 2013, but would be introduced in New York next year.

It could be used for identification to board domestic flights instead of a passport.

In addition, for frequent border crossers, like residents near the Canadian border, an even more secure license could be used to cross borders as well as board planes. This license, almost a substitute for a passport, would comply with the stricter requirements of a program called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and would require applicants to prove they are citizens.

UNI

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