Catalina Cruz Fights for Undocumented Immigrants to Access Driver's Licenses

Catalina Cruz was once an undocumented immigrant—now, she serves in the New York State Assembly. Her next legislative goal is to make sure that driver’s licenses are available to everyone, regardless of immigration status.

“There are people in upstate New York who work on farms, and who work in remote places that, unless they have a car, it’s either going to take them two or three hours every day, or they’re gonna have to risk getting into a car without a driver’s license—and who knows if they’re even knowledgeable behind the wheel—and could get into accidents or worse, they could get deported,” she said.

While 12 states and D.C. allow licenses for undocumented drivers, many myths still persist around the measure like that it’ll make roads less safe. But Cruz says the reality is that providing access to driver’s licenses ensures that all our drivers go through the same steps to get licensed, including passing a driver’s test.

She also dispelled the myth that a valid driver’s license will confer valid immigration status. A license allows immigrants to easily drive to work, school, appointments and emergencies, which wouldn’t devalue immigration policies, but still helps them participate in American society safely.