Kudos to Sen. Jose Peralta

Although the Dream Act never made it into the state budget, its biggest booster in Albany has been able to persuade his colleagues to pass a bill cracking down on fake IDs that threaten national security.

Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) represents the ethnic melting pot along Roosevelt Avenue, which investigators call the epicenter of the counterfeit mills churning out phony green cards and Social Security cards in high demand from illegal immigrants.

Back in 2005 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security asked law enforcement officials in Queens to tackle the dangers posed by illicit government documents, which could be used by terrorists to carry out attacks on American soil.

On a lesser scale, phony drivers’ licenses have been implicated in DWI deaths on the roads, while cases of SAT test cheating and identity theft have been blamed on fraudulent IDs.

Peralta, who has fought for nearly 10 years to get legislation passed to curb the counterfeit mill operators, prevailed in late March.

The Senate unanimously backed his bill, which prohibits the sale of forged government documents. The measure also makes both the sale and manufacture of false government IDs a felony, which carries a prison sentence of one to 15 years.

The Assembly was expected to weigh in on the bill soon.

Peralta, who has championed the Dream Act to provide temporary residency to young immigrants who complete two years of college or military duty, may have lost that round for the time being, But his determination to wipe out the fake ID industry in Queens appears to have paid off.

The Municipal ID Program, introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, has also undercut the illegal document industry.

Not surprisingly, Queens residents have applied for more than a third of the 100,000 requests for the ID from across the city. Nearly half of the residents in Queens are foreign-born and many have struggled to establish an official identity so that they can open bank accounts and enter public buildings. No questions are asked about applicants’ immigration status.

If passed, Peralta’s bill will help close one loophole for terrorists plotting against the United States and the Municipal ID card will remove some of the temptation to seek a phony identity.

Kudos to Peralta for sticking to his guns and to de Blasio for opening more doors for the people in Queens, from the elderly to the homeless to the undocumented.