After weeks of criticism, Eliot Spitzer is backing away from his controversial driver’s license policy, according to a spokeswoman for the governor and lawmakers who have received calls tonight from the governor’s aides.
“The governor deserves a lot of credit for attempting to address the issue,” said state Senator Jose Serrano, Jr. of the Bronx, who vociferously defended Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
The battle “exposed so many of the fear mongers and hate mongers in this state,” Serrano said.
When reached for comment, Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson emailed to confirm the governor was withdrawing the plan.
In recent days, Mr. Spitzer had hinted that his support for the plan was conditional.
Since he introduced the plan on September 21, it has transformed Spitzer into a lightning of criticism for local Republicans and national commentators who said the licenses would allow would-be terrorists to move about the country undetected. Recently, Spitzer modified the plan to introduce two other forms of identification available only to citizens which could be used for crossing borders and boarding planes.
Democrats around the state in last week’s elections either backed away from the policy or actively campaigned against it. On the presidential trail, Hillary Clinton came under fire for repeatedly not saying whether she supported the measure.
“I will not blame the governor for trying to where many others would not even try,” Serrano said. “Fear is a very powerful tool to divide.”