Illegal immigrants in New York will able to obtain driver’s licenses starting next week after a last-minute legal challenge was dismissed — making it the 13th state to allow the practice, but one that critics say is unconstitutional.
The Green Light Law, signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, allows anyone to apply for a driver’s license regardless of immigration status and does not require a Social Security number.
The controversial measure faced multiple lawsuits. Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns, whose lawsuit was dismissed last month, argued that the measure violated federal law and would make New Yorkers less safe.
“My concern is that, after 9/11, New York state put a prohibition on illegals having driving licenses and now with REAL ID in 2005 after we were attacked there will be a gap from today to Oct. 1 that anyone who is here illegally can get into a federal buiulding and can fly on our airplanes and cross our border,” he said Saturday on “Fox & Friends.”
“I am now going to have to accept a report card from a foreign country and … a foreign passport as authenticated documents. I myself as the clerk am going to have to do that,” Kearns said. “We used to have to rely on a third party, the fed government, to do that so they have diminished a New York driver’s license, and we are very concerned for our safety and security because western New York is a border to Canada.”
Kearns, who has put up a sign in his office that features an anonymous Immigration and Customs Enforcement tipline, has promised to personally evaluate every illegal immigrant application. He believes the law is part of a broader power play by Albany that will ultimately lead to voter fraud.
“This is all a power grab for the ballot box in New York, trying to give illegals the right to vote,” he said.