Immigrant Advocates Respond to Erie County Clerk’s Lawsuit Over Green Light Law

July 9th, 2019

New York, NY–Yesterday, Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns filed a lawsuit opposing the Green Light NY law, which provides access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. The Green Light bill passed the Senate in a vote of 33-29 before Governor Cuomo signed it into law on June 17.

The case, which was filed in U.S. Western District court in Buffalo, lists Gov. Cuomo, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder as defendants.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement in response to Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns lawsuit:

"Instead of doing his job implementing the law, Mickey Kearns is wasting taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit that only serves to push a racist agenda that punishes immigrants. Twelve other states already legally allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, and not a single one of those laws has been struck down in court. We’re more than confident that the courts will also find the Green Light NY law to be constitutional, and that Mickey Kearns' frivolous lawsuit will get thrown back into the same garbage heap that Mickey Kearns climbed out of, period. We cannot allow county clerks to put the politics of fear ahead of their responsibility to uphold the law.

“If Gov. Cuomo wants to be the champion to immigrant New Yorkers that he claims to be, he needs to stop throwing cold water on a crucial legislative achievement that he signed into law. For months we heard how the governor supports this law, and yet he and his staff have done everything they can to undermine it. The Green Light NY law the governor signed has the strongest protections in the country to protect immigrants. We hope the Governor will stop the charade of scaring hardworking immigrants into staying in the shadows by continuing to evoke the ICE boogeyman. If he has that much time on his hands, we can think of plenty of things he still needs to do before the summer ends."