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driver's licenses

The first lawsuit has been filed against New York's new law to permit undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the new law.

The lawsuit filed by Erie County Clerk Michael "Mickey" Kearns seeks court action to prevent the state from forcing county clerks who are against the new law to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Kearns. speaking a few days before the suit was filed, said he believes the New York law is unconstitutional.

New York's county clerks are meeting in Syracuse on Monday to discuss a new law that requires county departments of motor vehicles to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile, some county clerks who are opposed to the law are pressing forward on a federal lawsuit.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

A leading business group has come out in favor of granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, increasing the chances of the bill’s passage in the state Legislature this year.

Heather Briccetti, president of The Business Council, said reinstituting the policy of issuing New York state driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants will make the roads safer and help businesses that are seeking workers during a labor shortage.

Democrats in the State Assembly say they plan to move ahead with a bill to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in New York. But the Assembly speaker said he wants to educate people about the benefits of the measure first.

Speaker Carl Heastie said Democrats, who are in the majority in his house, have the votes to pass what’s known as the Green Light Bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a standard driver’s license.

“We are supportive of moving the driver’s licenses for all (legislation),” Heastie said.

'Necessity': Those in U.S. illegally are pushing for license to drive

Apr 8, 2019
Veronica Volk/WXXI News

ALBION -- Dairy farm worker Luis Jiménez gambles every time he drives without a license. Even a minor traffic stop could alert immigration agents that he is in the country illegally and lead to deportation.

But in the wide-open spaces of upstate New York's farm country, supermarkets and job sites are often too far away for walking, there's not always somebody around to give you a ride, and catching a city bus or subway just isn't an option.