Some upstate New York clerks are refusing to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens even after the State passed a law allowing illegals to obtain the documents.
On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Green Light Bill, which had passed the state Senate in a close 33-29. The bill allows illegals to obtain driver’s licenses in a move the law’s supporters said would make roadways “safer.” Supporters also said it was only fair to allow illegals a way to get to their jobs.
But county clerks in Erie, Rensselaer, Niagara and Allegany counties, such as Erie County Clerk Michael Kerns, say the new law conflicts with federal laws.
“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,” Kerns said according to the New York Post. “It is illegal to hire people in the state of New York or anywhere that are here illegally.”
“There’s an inconsistency there,” he added.
Some clerks are directing people they think may be illegal to appear at state-run driver’s facilities to obtain their licenses instead of at the county-run offices.
Kerns said he fully understood that Gov. Cuomo could strip him of his position and put in someone who will follow his directives, but he just cannot do something he feels is illegal.
Cumo’s office has yet to make any statements on the clerks’ refusal.
There is also some gray area on just what can be done to the clerks who refuse to follow the new driver’s license law.
On the other hand, New York State Attorney General Letitia James insists the law is legal and is prepared to defend it in court if need be.
The Green Light Law is not actually in effect, though. It is scheduled to begin in six months.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.