Starting on December 14, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles is set to give illegal aliens the right to apply for driver’s licenses. The controversial measure passed the state assembly in June, and it has attracted criticism from all over the country from opponents who say it is just another step towards normalizing illegal migration. Called the “Green Light Law” by proponents, it is being challenged in court by Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola, who says it could put him in direct conflict with federal immigration law if he were to comply.
On Thursday, the Trump administration weighed in on the lawsuit, saying that there were aspects of the new law that may not stand up to legal scrutiny.
“The United States notes that there is a significant question whether the Act conflicts with federal law,” Department of Justice attorneys wrote in a federal court filing. “The Act’s disclosure restrictions are wide-reaching and appear aimed at frustrating the federal government’s enforcement of the immigration laws. The Act specifically prohibits disclosing records or information to federal immigration authorities—singling out ICE and CBP by name—absent a court order or warrant signed by an Article III judge.”
The DOJ’s filing came in support of Merola’s lawsuit.
“For me it’s a game changer,” Merola told The New York Post. “I think there’s a lot of flaws in the law and hopefully the judge sees that and we at least stop it before the 14th.”
Lawyers for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may not have the support of the federal government, but they were joined in their defense by 10 states and Washington, D.C., which filed a brief arguing that offering driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants helped cut down on uninsured drivers.
“They make the (states) and their residents safer, healthier, and better off by reducing hit-and-run behavior and other driving infractions; reducing accidents; and reducing insurance cost,” the state argued to the court.
At the center of the dispute, though, is not the benefits of offering driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants but whether including certain provisions will violate a federal law prohibiting states from passing legislation that bans cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Of course, as far as that goes, New York (and many other cities and states) are already in violation of the law. Sanctuary bills are passing like gangbusters across the country thanks to Democrats who think it’s more important to protect illegal aliens than citizens. In that respect, New York’s driver’s license provisions are just another drop in the bucket.
And until the Trump administration can find a way to effectively punish these states and cities for violating the law, we’re sure to see this dismal trend continue.