State attorney general believes Green Light Law is constitutional

James: "We will vigorously defend the law"

Mike Baggerman
July 26, 2019 - 3:00 am

Erie County Auto Bureau. July 25, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - New York State Attorney General Letitia James remains supportive of the controversial Green Light Law, the measure that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license.

In a press conference, the attorney general said that she believes the law, despite challenges from multiple county clerks including Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns, is constitutional.

"We will vigorously defend the law," James said. "As the attorney general, we have an obligation and duty to defend state law and we will do just that."

James argued that the people in the country illegally are already driving. Giving them a license will allow them to receive the proper training and insurance that's needed to make the roads safer.

"Individuals who let's say have a hit and run, they tend to run," James said. "As opposed to, again, having insurance, being educated, and having a system where they can be taught the rules of the road. That's what's critically important. For me, this is all about safety."

To get a license, one must enter a local DMV.

The New York State Legislature passed the Green Light Law in the winding days of the 2019 session but has become a lightning rod of controversy since. Kearns previously said that he would take this case up to the U.S. Supreme Court if he needed to.

New York State Senator Chris Jacobs this week announced a bill which would revoke the Green Light Law, though it's not expected to gain much traction in Albany due to democratic control.

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