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Green Light Law Takes Effect In NY

drivers license
A sample driver's license from the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles.

A federal court on Friday upheld New York’s law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses — the so-called "Green Light Law" — allowing the measure to take effect Monday. 

The court rejected a challenge to the law from Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola, who had challenged the measure’s constitutionality.

It is the second time a federal court has upheld the law, which was approved by state lawmakers and signed into law in June by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A separate court challenge by Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns was rejected earlier this year.

Merola said last week he would direct people he believes to be in the country illegally to the motor vehicle office in Albany.

The Trump administration through the Department of Justice had signaled support for Merola’s lawsuit, writing in a filing that there were constitutional issues raised by the state law.

Dozens of county clerks who administer motor vehicle offices for the state on Friday in a letter to the Cuomo administration urged that the law be delayed in its implementation, pointing the lack of time for training given by the state.

David Guistina is the host of Capital Connection, Legislative Gazette, and Morning Edition and the producer of the Media Project on WAMC.
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