State law requires license applicants to prove their identity, date of birth, and fitness to drive, and to provide a Social Security number. The last requirement was added in 1995 as part of an effort to punish parents who were not paying child support. In 2002, a state regulation was adopted to allow applicants who are ineligible for a Social Security number to also apply for driver’s licenses.
But at that point, Gov. George E. Pataki, Mr. Spitzer’s predecessor, issued a policy that stipulated that the only way to define “ineligibility” would be through obtaining a formal letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration, a letter that is only obtainable by individuals who have legal immigration status. That step made it effectively impossible for illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
Gov. Spitzer has changed this policy. Now, applicants for driver's licenses can use "foreign passports, previous state driver’s licenses and 'other valid and verifiable documents' to prove their identity." Some debate the security implications of this new policy. It seems there might be an attempt to overturn NY's new policy.