NY County Clerk Appeals Challenge to Illegal-Alien Driver’s License Law

‘The state provided no provisions to prevent non-citizens from registering to vote other than what they refer to as an “honor system …”‘

NY County Clerk Appeals Challenge to Illegal Alien Driver's License Law

Immigrants flood a New York DMV to obtain licenses. / IMAGE: Eyewitness News ABC7NY

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns appealed his challenge to New York state’s Green Light Law, a regulation forcing county clerks to grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.

In November, Kearns lost his initial challenge to the Green Light Law in a U.S. District Court, after the judge ruled that Kearns lacked the standing to introduce the lawsuit, Buffalo Business First reported.

The law, which took effect in December, also prevents county clerks from sharing information about illegal aliens with federal immigration authorities.

Kearns, who Erie County attorneys represent in the lawsuit, filed his appeal with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal court one level below the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The defendants in the lawsuit—Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James and DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder—have declared victory in the case, but the District Court did not determine whether Kearns’ case has merit, WBFO reported.

“The Attorney General boldly claims the courts found the law to be legal but that’s blatantly false, in light of these procedural dismissals,” Kearns said in a statement.

“The fact remains that the law is unconstitutional,” he continued, “and I remain faced with the prospect of harboring prosecution if I follow the Green Light Law and removal from office if I refuse to enforce such a high-profile piece of the Governor’s progressive agenda.”

Besides putting Kearns in the precarious position of having to choose between harboring illegal aliens and enforcing the New York law, he argues that the Green Light Law is a backdoor approach to letting non-citizens vote in elections.

Jennifer Connor, executive director of Justice for Migrant Families, a group that advocates for open-border policies, said the Green Light Law benefits New York.

“There’s lots of misinformation,” Connor claimed.

“People need to keep being informed about what the law really accomplishes,” she continued. “Public safety, money at the DMV and drivers on the road who know the rules of the road.”

On the other hand, Kearns said the law places America’s communities and elections at risk.

“This law has already been put into effect, and we have already seen how it threatens our elections and safety,” he said.

“The state provided no provisions to prevent non-citizens from registering to vote other than what they refer to as an ‘honor system,’” Kearns added. “The Department of Homeland Security has rebuked the state’s refusal to share the DMV database because it prevents law enforcement officers from investigating crimes like child exploitation, human trafficking, terrorism, targeting of gang members, sex offenses and drug smuggling.”

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, a group opposed to illegal immigration, filed a friend-of-the-court brief last week, requesting that the 2nd Circuit hear Kearns’s lawsuit.

“It forces county officials to conceal illegal activity from federal law enforcement,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI.

“Not only is it unconstitutional for states to hamper federal law enforcement in that way, but when it comes to illegal aliens, there happens to be a federal criminal law against concealing them,” Wilcox said. “Kearns shouldn’t be forced to wait until he’s prosecuted as a criminal before he can get a court to decide whether the Green Light Law is unlawful—which it very clearly is.”