Some county clerks in upstate New York are refusing to abide by a new state law and will not grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, according to the New York Post.
Clerks in Allegany, Niagara, Erie, and Rensselaer counties have promised to ignore the legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
The legislation, which was known as the Green Light Bill, passed by 33 to 29 votes in the Democrat-controlled state Senate.
According to the NY Daily News, nearly 265,000 illegal immigrants will be eligible for driver’s licenses as a result of the legislation.
Intense lobbying efforts by the New York Immigration Coalition earlier this year saw TV, radio and targeted ads on social media to push the new measure.
Steven Choi, NYIC Executive Director, told the NY Daily News, “Our goal is to target every single legislator in New York State.”
Proponents of the legislation claim it could lead to safer roads, while Republicans have said it could result in voter fraud and identity theft.
Michael Kerns, Erie County Clerk, said he is ready to go to federal court over the matter, as the legislation is in conflict with federal policy.
“In the memo of the bill, they talk about the reason why they’re passing this bill is to make sure that people who are here illegally can get to and from work,” he said.
“It is illegal to hire people in the state of New York or anywhere that are here illegally. There’s an inconsistency there.”
Kerns said he was aware that Gov. Cuomo could strip him of his position.
As a result of the protest, motor vehicle agencies in Buffalo will direct illegal immigrant applicants to the state-run auto bureau located in Syracuse, roughly two hours away.
The legislation will take effect in six months.
Illegal immigrants will be issued with their first licenses in December 2019.
Cuomo told WAMC radio the measure could actually help authorities track “undocumented” immigrants.
“You could create a database for the feds to use to actually track down undocumented people,” he said.
“California passed a law, and they are now in litigation.”
Cuomo’s office has not responded to requests for comment.
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