ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State may suspend driver's licenses
for up to 300,000 people, including many illegal
immigrants, because their Social Security numbers could not
be verified, a top state official said.
Motor Vehicles Department Commissioner Raymond Martinez
called the program a matter of homeland security and
The department has mailed nearly 500,000 letters to people
across the state whose listed Social Security numbers could
not be verified, and more letters will be mailed. Roughly
half the people who received letters corrected the problem.
Martinez said he expects 275,000 to 300,000 people will
fail to provide legitimate Social Security numbers, and
said the DMV will move to suspend their licenses.
Since 2000, Martinez said the department has
uncovered "rampant and criminal acts of fraud" and has
found hundreds of thousands of people who used false Social
He said more than 100,000 New York residents may have had
their Social Security numbers stolen by someone else. He
described one case in which 57 people used a single Social
While the crackdown will guard against insurance fraud and
identity thefts, protecting against terrorism was the main
reason behind the program, Martinez said. All but one of
the Sept. 11 hijackers had valid driver's licenses, many
which were obtained fraudulently, he said.