- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2014

New York’s illegal immigrants would get the title of “state citizens” — allowing them benefits such as the right to vote and obtain driver’s  licenses — if state Sen. Gustavo Rivera’s bill comes to fruition.

The bill would require illegals to prove that they’ve paid taxes in the state for at least three years and to take a vow that they’ll maintain state laws, the New York Daily News reported. But critics call that provision ridiculous, given that the individuals who are targeted by the bill are already living in the country illegally.

Specifically, the bill would let those who obtain the “state citizen” label vote in state and local elections, as well as seek public office. They could also get driver’s licenses, professional business permits and licenses, Medicaid, in-state tuition benefits and other school financial aid, as well as any other benefits that are controlled by the state, the New York Daily News reported. The bill could not change provisions for benefits that are under the control of federal law.

An estimated 2.7 million New York residents could see benefits from the bill. But the chances for its passage are slim; Albany lawmakers, for instance, have stood strong in the face of any immigration bill that relaxes existing laws, the New York Daily News reported.

But the bill sponsor says he doesn’t care.

“Obviously, this is not something that’s going to pass immediately,” Mr. Rivera said, the New York Daily News reported. “But nothing as broad as this, or as bold as this, passes immediately.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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