State and county officials are expressing concerns over a proposed piece of legislation, referred to as the “Green Light Bill.”
According to New York’s Deputy Minority Leader Joe Griffo, this measure would allow illegal immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses while using forms of foreign identification. “Despite legitimate concerns from law enforcement, opposition from county clerks and two Siena College polls that show New Yorkers do not support providing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, downstate Democrats are continuing to push this idea forward,” Griffo said.
Area law enforcement officials also expressed their worry that this legislation could impact general public safety. “The ‘Green Light Bill’ is a dangerous piece of legislation,” said Lewis County Sheriff Michael Carpinelli, who also added concern over the potential for increased voter fraud. In addition, Griffo outlined the fact of how New York, like many other states, uses the DMV to enroll voters. Because New York does not have voter ID laws compared to other states, this proposal could increase the potential for voter fraud even further, according to Griffo’s office.
Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol says there are certain provisions in this bill that are very alarming to all law enforcement agencies statewide. “Should this bill become law, my office would have to certify to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, as a condition of maintaining access to their records databases, that I will not turn over any of the information I obtain to federal authorities responsible for enforcing civil immigration law,” he said.
The New York County Clerk Association has also expressed their frustration over this legislation, claiming they cannot vet documents from other countries. If passed, this legislation would require additional staff to help with language translation needs.
According further to authorities, this legislative change also will result in the need for additional staff to assist with language translation needs, according to the association. While some county operated motor vehicle departments have translators on staff or systems in place to help with such needs, this function is scaled for current need levels and is limited to a handful of languages.
If this legislation passes, officials say there are estimates of over 200,000 new applicants will be immediately eligible for licenses. Counties would have to pick up the tab for hiring employees to deal with an influx of applicants as well.