Much Ado About Spitzer on Licenses

The issue of whether or not to ease restrictions on obtaining driver licenses got some press during the gubernatorial campaign, a little bit afterwards and even more today.

Immigration advocates, who say the tough measures unfairly turn state officials into INS agents, and critics who say that loosening the requirements would help terrorists, both point to remarks Eliot Spitzer and his spokesperson made during the campaign as the reason they’ve mobilized.

But sources close to Eliot Spitzer, as of yesterday, maintained that there are no plans at all to change the requirements for getting a license. Depending on your interpretation, either the governor is backing away from something he once intended to do, or the seal-the-borders group opposing an imagined measure is ginning up a scare — and getting a bunch of attention — for nothing.

UPDATE: Bill O’Reilly, a consultant who helped organize yesterday’s press conference by the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License opposing any prospective looseing of license requirements, just sent me the following email:

Because Governor Spitzer can undo the safeguards by executive order, it could happen any day, and a recent op-ed by opponents of license reform in Gotham Gazette hinted that it might happen soon. The Coalition has no choice but to speak out now, before license security is compromised, because it’s a lot easier to prevent something bad from happening in Albany than to try to get fixed after the damage is done.

– Azi Paybarah