Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants? Some County Clerks Refuse to Comply With New York's New Law

June 20, 2019 AT 8:32 AM

By Kayla Epstein

A county clerk in New York is challenging a new state law that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain noncommercial driver’s licenses and learner’s permits.

This week, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) signed the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, colloquially known as the Green Light Law, after an intense legislative debate. Advocates of the bill say it would mitigate stigma against undocumented immigrants, allowing them to contribute to the economy and more easily navigate their everyday lives. Critics of the law worry that there are scant details in the legislation about how to implement the policy, and that providing undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses could compromise security. It ultimately passed with just one more vote than the minimum requirement, 33 to 29, according to the New York Times. The law takes effect in six months.

In a statement after its passage, state Sen. Luis Sepúlveda (D) said that “this legislation will not only provide undocumented immigrants with a legal solution to obtain a driver’s license, but its positive impacts will include significant economic growth, improved road safety and keeping hard-working families together.”

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