Federal government files to intervene in Green Light lawsuit


The federal government filed a motion earlier this month to intervene in the lawsuit Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns has against New York State regarding the state’s Green Light Law.

“I’m very excited that the federal government is making this a priority, because I’ve always said that this is all about constitutionality,” said Kearns.

The new law gives people who are in the country illegally the freedom to get a drivers license.

One of Kearns objections is the law will interfere with federal immigration laws that make it illegal to aid or abet illegal immigrants.

He says part of the law addresses information sharing and the DMV is required to give illegal immigrants 3 days notice if a federal authority has a question or interest in that person. He says this puts himself and county clerks in the state in the position of violating federal law.

“If the federal government came in, we don’t know how far their going to come in, if they come in, we’re just hoping that they come in on the whole case,” he said. “Because, I believe that I could be in jeopardy by violating federal law, by harboring, concealing or shielding people by giving them a drivers license.”

“So you have the county of Erie going against the state of New York. The State of New York has a tremendous amount of resources that the county of Erie, doesn’t have, so you’re going,” he said. “It’s almost David versus Goliath.”

The new law is set to start in December, but Kearns is asking for a preliminary injunction to delay the start of the new law.  The oral arguments are set to begin on October 23th.

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