As New York lawmakers continue work on the so-called "Green Light Bill," which would pave the way for illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license, a group of five Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill of their own which would protect county clerks who might refuse to give them one.
Rensselaer County's Clerk, Frank Merola, has gone on the record and says no one in this country illegally has ever gotten a license from his office, and never will. Merola says, "It's not a Republican/Democrat issue, I think it's an issue about what is legal here, and when we're talking about someone that's in this country illegally I think we're gonna get more and more clerks, regardless of whether they're Republican or Democrat who are going to say 'absolutely not.'"
Senator Jim Tedisco, Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, Senator Daphne Jordan, and former county clerks Senator Chris Jacobs, and Senator Patty Ritchie joined with Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner, Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola, Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns, and Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo in support of the legislation.
"We are a state and a nation of laws, whenever we exempt people from those laws, it creates chaos. We support immigration but it has to be legal immigration because if we don’t have a process for becoming a citizen, New York State will become a magnet for those here illegally. My colleagues on the other side of aisle aren’t fooling anyone on this issue. Their endgame is to allow non-citizens voting rights. If that happens the United States of America will become the United States of Non-Citizens,” said Senator Jim Tedisco.
Democrats in the Assembly have the votes to pass the "Green Light Bill," but Speaker Carl Heastie has said he wants to "educate" people about it before bringing it to the floor.
Governor Cuomo has said he'll sign the bill if it passes both chambers.
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