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NY clerk refusing to issue illegal aliens driver’s licenses after NY passes law saying he must

A driver displays sample passport cards and enhanced drivers licenses. (U.S. Embassy Canada/Released)
June 19, 2019

A New York clerk is refusing to abide by a newly signed law granting drivers licenses to illegal aliens, and vows to file legal action.

On Tuesday, Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns submitted a letter to attorney Michael Siragusa, citing his refusal to abide by the law, and requesting representation for a lawsuit against the state in an effort to block the law before it takes effect in December 2019, WIVB News reported Wednesday.

“I will not be granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants,” Kearns wrote in the letter to the attorney, which was obtained by WIVB.

“After a review of the act, I am convinced that it is inconsistent with federal law. More importantly, however, complying with the act puts me and other county clerks in the untenable position of having to decide whether to uphold federal law or the newly enacted state law. I anticipate being sued in either event,” Kearns added.

Specifically, Kearns argues that the “Green Light Bill” that grants driver’s licenses to illegal aliens violates the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which establishes legal paths for citizenship – including a driver’s license.

Further, Kearns said the bill does not implement training for clerks like himself who would be in charge of issuing driver’s licenses.

“In the bill, there’s no funding for training,” Kearns told WIVB. “Our staff can’t decipher between the 195 countries, 195 passports.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill Monday night, just hours after the state Senate passed it. The state Assembly approved the bill a week earlier.

New York is the 13th state to pass such a law, despite a recent poll showing that 53 percent of the state’s residents opposed the idea.

Jennifer Connor, who helped organize the Green Light Campaign, insists that discrimination is the only explanation for opposing the law.

“The only reason to be against this all along has been xenophobia and fear,” Connor said.

Some 900,000 illegal aliens reside in New York state, and around 200,000 are expected to file for a driver’s license, Connor said, adding that a fight will ensue if those driver’s licenses are not granted.

“We will come after you if you don’t uphold the law because of racism and xenophobia,” she said.

Kearns said he is prepared to face retaliatory action over his refusal to follow the law, noting that Gov. Cuomo could fire him.

“However through my research, working through my legal team, we have to be charged. There has to be some charges, and I get to answer those charges. It’s almost one of those things we’re preparing for. I hope it doesn’t happen,” Kearns said.