In a speech at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus on Tuesday, Oct. 2, Gov. Eliot Spitzer outlined his proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and criticized President Bush’s plan to place stricter eligibility rules for the government health insurance program that covers poor children.
Spitzer’s policy speech at Fordham came just a day after he announced that New York and several other states would file suit against the Bush administration’s plan to enforce the tighter eligibility rules for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Meanwhile, Spitzer’s plan to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses has drawn strong opposition from Republicans.
Spitzer called on Republicans to set aside the politics of “fear-mongering” and engage in an honest debate about the policy implications of both controversial issues. He was particularly critical of efforts to link immigrants and terrorism.
“Let me close by making one point perfectly clear: No amount of hysterical rhetoric will prevent us from doing what is right,” Spitzer told the standing-room-audience of students and faculty members in the 12th-Floor Lounge. “No amount of scare tactics that equate immigrants with terrorists will keep us from implementing changes to our driver’s license system that we know are needed to increase public safety and homeland security. And no amount of fear-mongering will keep us from fighting for health insurance for every child.”
Spitzer was introduced by Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., Fordham’s senior vice president academic affairs and chief academic officer, who welcomed the governor on behalf of Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
“We at Fordham welcome the opportunity to work with Governor Spitzer on a variety of programs that benefit the citizens of New York City and New York state,” Freedman said. “As a Jesuit institution, we know that our mission and our responsibilities recognize no borders. Our students and faculty come from across the nation and around the globe, but in particular Fordham contributes much to New York’s intellectual, economic and cultural life. The work we do has great benefit throughout New York City and New York state.”