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Dinolfo seeks to sue Cuomo, state on law legalizing licenses for undocumented immigrants

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 Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo wants the Monroe County Legislature to permit her to sue the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over a controversial bill that was passed this week.

Dinolfo strongly opposes the Green Light measure, which will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses in New York state starting in December. She has blasted state lawmakers and called out County Clerk Adam Bello to take a position on the matter.

Traditionally, the county clerk would challenge this kind of measure, as Dinolfo did when she held the role.

The Republican says it’s about fairness, public safety, and whether the law is constitutional.

“You have unequal treatment of citizens who have followed the law. You also have a definite disparity between the federal law on immigration and the state law as well,” said Dinolfo.

Dinolfo also said that she’s worried about safety.

“Certainly there’s a huge public safety issue as well on our law enforcement not being able to access records if there’s a traffic stop of someone who is here without legal presence, that is an enormous safety concern. That, I think, needs to be addressed.”

Bello, who is challenging Dinolfo for her post, said the potential lawsuit is political. The two lock horns in next week’s Independence Party primary and in the general election in the fall.

The Democrat said there are still unknowns about the new law.

“It’s playing politics like she does with every other issue in this community, and it’s time to just move past that,” Bello said. “We need to work together.”

Bello said he has a lot of concerns about this legislation.

“But I’m also going to follow the law,” he added. “The job of the county clerk is not to pick and choose which laws they’re going to follow.”

Bello also said he worries about whether county clerks’ offices will have the resources and expertise to handle unfamiliar documents from immigrants seeking licenses.

“The law opens up the door to documents coming from all over the world,” said Bello. “They’re going to be presented in our office. And how do you know those documents are real? And there’s no fraudulent activity?”

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.