The Department of Homeland Security released a statement Monday condemning New York lawmakers for passing legislation that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license using foreign documentation.
The so-called “Green Light” law, which was passed in June, took effect on Monday as illegal immigrants lined up outside New York City DMV branches to claim licenses. The law also prevents the New York DMV from sharing information on illegal immigrants with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
“This will protect criminals at the expense of the safety and security of law-abiding New York residents,” a spokesman for DHS said in a statement.
“Besides giving drivers licenses to hundreds of thousands of people who broke our laws and have come to our country illegally,” the spokesman continued, “the New York law also blocks DHS law enforcement officers who investigate crimes like child exploitation, human trafficking, terrorism, the targeting of gang members, sex offenders, and drug smuggling, from accessing important public records.”
Several county clerks have pushed back against the Green Light law since it was signed. Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns asserted on his Twitter account that half the county clerks in the state who work with the DMV wanted Governor Andrew Cuomo to stop the law from taking effect.
“I’m now going to have to accept a report card from a foreign country and foreign documentation, a foreign passport as authenticated documents,” Kearns told Fox and Friends on Saturday. “I, myself, as the clerk am going to have to do that.”
“They have diminished a New York state driver’s license and we’re very concerned for our safety and security because western New York is a border to Canada.”