Undocumented immigrants prohibited from getting a driver’s license talk about everyday challenges

Local News

Eladio Beltran is a migrant who works in the agriculture field year-round. Last year, he was pulled over and handed to ICE, he says, for operating a vehicle with a foreign license.

“Currently, I’m in a really bad situation that, uhh, possibly end up in family separation,” said Eladio Beltran, an Orleans County resident. 

This is the reality for the roughly 4,000 undocumented immigrants in the Rochester area, whose status prohibits them from getting a driver’s license.

“Take your driver’s license today and then put it away and to say you no longer have it and think about how that affects you going to the grocery store, the doctor,” said Kevin Beckford, councilmember of the Pittsford town board.

The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act would give migrants license privileges.

The New York Immigration Coalition estimated the state would get about $57 million in annual revenue if migrants were able to apply for licenses.

“Allow these imigrants to operate a vehicle safely in new york state, contribute also and paying for their vehicle here and paying for the insurance here. It’s a good way,” said Beltran. 

Opponents say license privileges should be reserved for state residents. Pittsford Town Talk hosted Alianza Agrícola farmworkers to explore the challenges.

“That’s exactly what happened to migrant farm workers in 2002 and we just want to restore that,” said Beckford

In May, Beltran will find out his immigration status.

“I’m proud of my job and I do love my job,  …. All the workers we are so proud to put food on my table and also put food on your table too,” said Beltran.

The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act is making its way through legislation. The group is hopeful for the governor’s approval.

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