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Tipsheet

NY GOP Wants Legal Protection For Clerks Who Deny Illegal Immigrant Driver's Licenses

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

New York state recently signed into law a measure that allows individuals illegally in the country to obtain driver's licenses. Critics of the bill, known as the "Green Light Act," have long argued that the bill will only endanger American citizens by encouraging illegal immigration. Now, the Empire State GOP says that the law is in direct violation of federal law, and because of that state Republican officials want to enact legislation which protects Department of Motor Vehicle clerks who refuse to grant licenses to illegal immigrants. 

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The Lockport Journal reports that State Senate GOP Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island is pushing for a bill in the state legislature to protect government employees who "act in good faith to follow federal law instead of abetting illegal behavior." 

"It should not be up to our DMV workers to ferret out potentially fraudulent foreign documents that can open up our voting system to abuse," Flanagan added. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill in June, but he almost vetoed the bill out of fear the government data base of illegal immigrant drivers would be used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies to deport those who violate America's borders. 

Progressives say that Flanagan's and the GOP's efforts are nothing but political games for media headlines and to rev up the conservative base. Some also say the bill is prejudiced against immigrants.

"Thankfully, with Republicans in the minority, we all see this as nothing more than a play to grab headlines while stoking anti-immigrant fears," Steve Choi, director of the New York Immigration Coalition told media. "It’s schemes like this that landed them in the minority and why they’re destined to stay there."

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As noted by the Lockport Journal, "Otsego County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner and Clinton County Clerk John Zurlo are among the other clerks who have declared their opposition to the new law." 

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