by WorldTribune Staff, May 25, 2020
Amid the coronavirus crisis in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo quietly got his 2020 budget passed. It contained an amendment to the state’s Green Light Law which allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
The amendment makes it a Class E felony for New York law enforcement to share DMV information with immigration authorities such as the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ABC 7 news in Buffalo reported.
“They basically criminalize police work in this budget,” Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns told ABC 7.
“Border Patrol for example, working the highway in the middle of the night and pulls over a vehicle, they can’t run the plates to determine who owns that vehicle,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York J.P. Kennedy. “I think it’s legislating obstruction and it’s very concerning to me.”
Along with allowing illegals to obtain driver’s licenses, the Green Light Law, which went into effect on Dec. 16, 2019, blocks ICE and Customs and Border Protection from accessing DMV databases.
In February, DHS in response to New York implementing the Green Light Law blocked New York residents from applying for four Trusted Traveler Programs, which allow vetted, low-risk travelers to quickly pass through border crossings and expedited airport security check lanes.
Matthew Albence, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting director, said at the time the New York law “is dangerous to the public, and it is dangerous to our officers and agents who are currently at a greater risk of harm because they lack access to this data. In fact, short of taking our guns away, I can think of no law that would be more dangerous to our officers and our agents.”
Kennedy says Cuomo’s move to amend the Green Light Law was done silently amidst the coronavirus pandemic that devastated New York.
“We’ve seen how important communication and coordination in coming up with a response to the pandemic and sort of causing people to work in isolation it’s a recipe for disaster,” Kennedy said of not being able to share information. “I’m very concerned about this and I think it’s very unfortunate and makes me really question the motives of the individuals that enacted this law, if their professed interest in public safety and public health is really as important as they say they are.”
The Green Light Law amendment also will have an impact on a national scale, Kennedy said: “If any law enforcement officer in Texas ran across a New York State registered vehicle they could not run that plate if it was any officer who was involved in the enforcement of immigration law.”
Kearns told ABC 7: “This is shocking this is unheard of and especially during a pandemic that someone, the Governor, who is under so much pressure thought about that to put that in there. We just had I think it was 29 people law enforcement people in the State of New York that just died from COVID, and they’re criminals now?”