Legislative leaders in Albany have indicated they are ready to give the green light to “Green Light” legislation next week, which would allow undocumented aliens to get a driver’s license.
But Republicans have been digging in their heels to put the brakes on the package of transportation-oriented bills, and Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw has compiled a list of negative effects the legislation might have for local taxpayers.
“We have no idea whether there is going to be one, ten, or potentially tens of thousands of illegal immigrants coming to Erie County and applying for a driver’s license.”
Mychajliw suspects the Green Light package would be another unfunded mandate imposed by the state upon local taxpayers.
While proponents have said the legislation–there are actually several versions pending in Albany–would make the streets safer, increase revenues from additional license fees, and boost the economy, Mychaljliw said there are many drawbacks.
At the top of the list, voter registration. Mychajliw asks, if undocumented aliens present identification from other countries, how would workers in county clerks’ auto bureaus know how to detect fraud?
“An illegal immigrant, the way the multiple bills are written, could potentially just fill out a box, provide a driver’s license number and then register to vote. You hit a touch screen at the clerk’s office to register to vote under ‘Motor Voter’ laws.”
Mychajliw also points out there is no way of knowing how many undocumented aliens might apply for driver’s licenses here, and Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns is already straining to meet the needs of legal applicants.
A flood of new drivers would mean either longer lines, or the Comptroller added, hiring more staff at taxpayer expense.
While there is talk of issuing special driver’s licenses for undocumented aliens, Mychajliw said law enforcement, during traffic stops, might be blocked from running their names through the New York DMV’s database.
“These police officers would have to actually get a warrant from a judge in order to run a name to determine if someone is an illegal alien or not.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set the Green Light legislation as one of his 10 legislative priorities for this session.
But now there are reports that a growing number of Democrats are breaking ranks and joining Republican opposition–including Assembly members Patrick Burke of Buffalo and Monica Wallace of Cheektowaga.