New York appeals, will again revoke licenses that don't match Social Security numbers

| 2/25/2005

New York will appeal a judge’s ruling that the state had to stop taking away licenses from illegal immigrants, The New York Times reported.

The case arose out of an effort that started in the Empire State nearly a year ago. In March 2004, Raymond P. Martinez, commissioner of the New York State Division of Motor Vehicles, announced that his agency would match up Social Security numbers used for driver’s licenses with information on file with the federal government. If the name and numbers don’t match federal records, the driver’s license could be revoked.

The New York Times reported recently that the effort had already resulted in 7,000 people losing their licenses, and eventually, 300,000 were expected to be revoked.

Judge Karen Smith of the Supreme Court in New York City ordered Feb. 17 that the state must stop. The judge is presiding over a suit by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund against Martinez and New York Gov. George Pataki.

The judge’s ruling, The Times reported, says Martinez’s agency cannot enforce immigration law – or make new rules without a public notice.

However, state officials told the newspaper that the appeal filing would effectively suspend the judge’s order, allowing the department to move forward with continued suspensions. Groups fighting the decision reject the state’s assertion.