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How This New York Clerk Is Pushing Back Against Giving Illegal Immigrants Driver's Licenses

AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

An upstate New York clerk is challenging the new measure Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Monday that allows illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses.


Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns believes the move is a violation of federal law and will not enforce it. 

"I will not do it. I’m not going to break the law," said Kearns, reports WKBW. "I can't - in good conscious do this."

"It’s more than just driving – it’s a privilege – it’s a gateway document – it’s a breeder document- and I’m not going to be a part of that," he said.

Cuomo signed the measure on Monday after it passed the state Senate. The Green Light Bill passed the Assembly last week. 

Kearns penned a letter to attorney Michael Siragusa requesting representation, saying he plans to file an action in federal court to challenge it. 

“After a review of the act, I am convinced that it is inconsistent with federal law,” Kearns wrote in the letter. “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.”

While he knows Cuomo has the power to remove him from his position if he fails to comply, he told WIVB he hopes it doesn’t come to that.

"He [Governor Cuomo] has the power,” he said. “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."


The law is scheduled to take effect in December.

In a series of tweets about the measure, Kearns said it's "time to fight back."


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