Explaining Stance On Licenses - Mickey Kearns


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Joining us live in studio is eerie county clerk Mickey currency are talking about state law being kicked around right now on the state legislature that would allow undocumented immigrants. To obtain driver's licenses and now Mickey you've come out and said that will not happen in Erie county if this laws passed that I wanna start though by. Talking about the law talking about the bill and this idea. If you could just kind of go about explaining what would happen if this bill were to be passed. Sure are one thing that needs to be clarified. I think you know when we talk about our political spin. As we deal with people at the clerk's office we do what refugees. They can get licenses if they have the proper documentation. How we deal with student Jesus the university of buffalo. It is a great example we have the so we have to recognize that I you do not have to be. The United States citizen to get a driver's license but a driver's license is a privilege these are people who came here legally. Canada's relative because as a former legislator was in the state assembly. They're Gannett and the recession in June June 20. And even if they do not pass these laws. Governor Cuomo. We know to wake up on the wrong side of the bad. And change his mind on something we passed the bill to save the children sick yet you senate unanimously he vetoed it three months later he changed his mind and he kept open. So I think it's relevant to talk about it it's timely is very timely and Wednesday I'm meeting with the other clerks were very concerned I got a call from the Niagara county clerk. Who supports me 100%. I think get to Wednesday when you see the support that I have are from other clerks throughout the state you'll see why this is relevant. I guess that the big question is how is this expected to work though if this law is passed serve. How old would this work in the clerk's office ideally under the law sure we're not going to process these licenses it's ironic the lieutenant governor. I didn't go is even inspire sir if you read the New York Times article she said she was the ice agents at the door. Are ready to harass people she asked the district attorney. To investigate whether this law would be legal I'll follow what the lieutenant former lieutenant governor earth should maybe she will be the former but the lieutenant governor. Advocated it as a clerk but I think when all the courts ought to say remember these are illegal people they're not here legally. When I do the naturalization ceremonies I'm very proud because we. Do passport are reaches to say to them thank you for doing at the right way. Thank you for doing it legally and I'm very proud of him people follow the las. In the become citizens because of course my grandparents our parents were immigrants from Ireland so I'm not against immigrants I'm against people who come here illegally. Are you mentioned before he had to do driver's licenses. For refugees for immigrants assets track with proper documentation what is proper documentation well you need a Social Security parent or some type of our clearance from Homeland Security if people remember on September 11. We had a terrorist attack well people keep this country. Use of false documentation. It's not only a license is not only a privilege to drive it's a form of identification. So that identification is very important you could do many things with that so of course we're going to do our reaches for the refugee community we're going to do things for our students they're a big part of our economy. But you know I just want to clarify something. This is not political this is a reality the legislature is taking up this bill does the senate illness some adult. And the governor at any point in time to go by executive order I am not and I repeat this now say this again I'm not gonna process those license. But maybe I should do look at the local propose to do and have ice agents at the door waiting for these people and how do what. But we're curious to standards for two separate issues with Kathy was the clerk she said these things it's back it's documented and now we're political bosses like Germany's downer who are trying to spin this. And he's wrong. And I listen to April Baskin and I know as a former legislator what my responsibilities. And duties are we came to the legislature. You proactive doing my job I wanna thank her for giving eleven additional people 'cause Elijah too long no one has asked for new employees. For ten years we're gonna have fourteen new employees that were processor so I know how to do my job. We're doing a great job put people on the other side are trying to politicize this. We are joined live in studio by Erie county clerk Mickey Kearns a Mickey I'd hate to again start at square want to do but I'm struggling to understand maybe you are too. How why this is supposed to work if this a law regarding undocumented immigrants obtaining driver's licenses in New York State. Is past now everybody knows they go to the DMV weather their renewing a license something like that you need to bring. Now whatever is needed to birth certificate as Social Security card your some other form. Of ID. How are people with outs any documents it supposed to go in and obtain. One of these without having something to show what their name is photo idea at their place of birth any thing like that. What's its distinct if you come into the DMB now for enhanced driver's license in 20/20 you're going to have to have that the flight domestically. And you are married and you're a woman or man. And you have your partner's name or your wife's name or your husband's been on that. And that I. We send you home we send you home without that proper documentation. So what they're looking to do in this bill is they will take this stamp. Passport from a foreign country without any verification on any Social Security number and they will say come on and I hear his your identification here is your license. To do what you wanna do so to me. I hate in this age of work of our international city were on the border. I have security some concerns. I would be very concerned if we were giving away licenses like they're giving out. Candy and candy store but. How is that fair when the rest of us it's not a very channel so it's not fair week. The law abiding citizens it's like having two sets of rules and rural we are all wore a nation of rules and laws you can't have two sets of rules. Every once should be held to the same standard so you're absolutely right it's not fair. I mean. Struggling again see how this who works so if you're in undocumented immigrant. You on illegal immigrant yeah I'm eagle you obtain a driver's license from the states. And your stock to hold over something like that couldn't you'd then be arrested. Because. You're here without documents if you have proper. Documentation we we have people were students. Are leasing will take the university of buffalo. They have a lot of people that travel over her but we have students we have people who. Companies like Mo who employ there are global companies they equal they employ people from around the world are very technical. Company. They need to for people to do different things from around the world. So they may need a driver's license of course we want them a refugee but they have the proper documentation Catholic Charities. Shepherd them through the process we're not talking about not what people be part of our system. We're talking about people who come here legal. They don't file the law and in this bill we would have to take. I would have to take as a chief. Officer the administrator from the clerk's office we have to take this documentation and we will have to hope. That these people were terrorist. We'll have the hole that these. People weren't felons. And they would have to take that documentation from a foreign country it's absurd that were even consider in this. It's absurd why did any driver's licenses. Or at some instances I I feels all that they talk about maybe there might be far migrant workers are working on farms. And other things but to me. There are many people when I go to those naturalization ceremonies. They do with the right way it's not fair to those people who go. And take them up go through the process of doing it right in our law abiding citizens it's not fair to them there can't be two sets us. It hurts and joining us live in studio we have you're county clerk Mickey currents talking about this issue we've been asking you about the WB EN dot com. All morning long the New York State Legislature. Kicking around a bill. That would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses and Mickey you've come out last week and said that while not happen. In Erie county we've explain kind of how oil it would work under the bill. Do you think you have a support of a lot of your fellow county clerks in saying if this were to pass we're not going to do it. I just talked to the Niagara county clerk the other day and he is a full support on Wednesday we're having a western. On New York State meeting and this is on the agenda it's one of the top priorities. I'm going to wait to some might letter to the president of our New York City clerk's association. Until like it's more by the end I think you'll be very surprised the number of people who do not support this bill. Mickey what kind of an increase would your office be in fort if this were to become law remember we went to the legislature and I want to thank the Erie county legislature they did the right thing the county executive said no the Buffalo News said no. However we have long lines. End of the legislature did to the right thing we're in the process I can't control the civil service process beat him it's those people. There is a process is quite frankly maybe we need some outperform their however. We're in the top right now we're in the final stages of hiring fourteen people. It would put a tremendous strain as I said we're gonna go from 40000 license renewals up to a 130000. Worth the hype for the next four years. That's a lot of revenue for Erie county but it puts a lot of stress on the employs so we can't week. In addition to that we're going to be open and on Saturdays at north towns so we're going to six days a week. And will continue to be proactive to take the measures to cut the lines down and a couple of the weeks down net. This is kind of been described as a downstate issue is something that impacts in New York City and said that area way more than it does the rest of the state you don't agree. I don't agree weren't are on the international border. The bill I estimates it would impact about 2500 people. A that would put tremendous strain remember these are complex transactions with the enhanced driver's license we are at opposite verification. These are like the old days Susan you and I talked about in the old days. You could run on a plane you can get to the gate fifteen minutes early. Today you have to have Homeland Security you have to go through proper channels through security it's the same this is beyond a driver's license its identification. It's it's going to give them on many privileges remember are having a license and driving. Is not a right. It is a privilege. In none of these people are being vetted it and me in any way so you don't know if you're giving a license to a terrorist or. To a criminal that is that is correct and remember we worked already are with a refugee community. They are about it we work with people that are on work visas and people who are students they're vetted through Homeland Security. So they're doing at the right way what about people that are become citizens they spent a lot of time and money to do that to become citizens I'm very proud of non. To just give them a shortcut. It's not there and as long as on the clerk I'm not going to stand for that. Do you get requests now. From undocumented people. Well Ford driver's licenses or something else from the clerk's office if you do not have the proper documentation. Unfortunately. Whether you're a citizen or not are we are an agent of the state we do have to send people home. So basically they wouldn't probably get past the point out you need six points of ID are you need a person to protect you need some type of proof of address. A Social Security tired so even if you come and you probably wouldn't get too far did just that happens it happens I mean at their people. One of the things I'm doing is we have a new program where we want people to be ready. They come they look at the information so when they come into the audit bureau. They can make a reservation we talked about this even the week lines you can come in and go on that auto bureau Erie county duck off. And you can make a reservation. To comment and people are doing that now we're seem shorter lines but we still need those workers the command. Because many of our workers are burned out we've lost three workers were gonna have the harder now eleven people were fourteen people. They just can't take it anymore with the volume. And and Mickey of this plan to is talking about giving these illegal immigrants. Licenses they would have to first get a permit they could just go right to the topic regardless I'll. They would have to follow the process of course but still on once they're done with the testing he would get a license and member that is identification. And that's pretty scary and remembered before lieutenant governor today said she went up police agents at the door at the Dorsey said. I mean I guess that sounds a little cruel. She asked for a district attorney investigation maybe I should just follow what the current lieutenant governor did I will do everything the same that she did and let's see what the Democrats say. Mickey current says he won't stand for it. Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants that Erie county clerk in studio with us you know Mickey you're running for reelection this year. Some say this is politics that you're saying this now but if this becomes locked that'll be a different story. Well this was an issue last year when I ran for the clerk's office I win on the record are we have a pending bill. You know what's interesting to say fact we did recertification when we came and we recertify 27000 people I voted against the same effect. But there's a provision in there. It didn't say suspension and set automatic provocation so there are many people right now that are out of compliance but it's amazing. That even though the odd deadline was January 31. The governor said. That out we can wait we won't have the outlaw enforcement enforce that rule you don't. But those people are still out of compliance. In I may now push people to recertify. A because there are some consequences to that. So I to me I. I'm always proactive I reach out to the people we had ten outreach is to make sure that people recertified to make sure that during compliance with a lot. But the one thing we know is the governor is facing election himself against a very liberal Cynthia Nixon. And now he will be forced pushed more to the left. And at any point in time he can issue an executive order. I he does not need the legislature's. Approval to do that our governor drop attack he did that. Obviously. The governor has that power as the executive so I am concerned. And at least as an elected official. I go out and I put my views on the record but this is something that's pending. The legislature is considering the spell the daily news wrote and many other New York papers wrote op Eds. Encouraging the governor and the governor is under tremendous stress he stopped many of this is our staff are facing investigation into the buffalo billion. So we don't know what the governor is gonna do when I used the example of the children's psychiatric center. Are we pass the billionaire honestly he vetoed it in a couple months later he said okay we're gonna keep an open. I he can change his mind on a daily basis so as clerks we need to be prepared and I think the voters need to know what they're elected officials stand on. Shoes you'd think this city. Service far more vote political purpose than it does. You know an actual purpose in practice this bill you know we I was a former legislator are I want to hear what the people say and I guess what is the polls say today. 90% of the people are. In favor of not giving our remember the only girl. Illegal. People are licensed. Why do we have to go and do the right thing. Then go to the proper channels and have the proper documentation. A because it's a seriously it's a privilege to have this chart it goes beyond driving. It's identification we talked about the real idea 20/20 Homeland Security you're going to need a real IDR a passport to get on a domestic flight. We have security concerns here in the 21 century so to me it's not political. But as the project would say he can't take the politics out of politics. Are textures wanna know Mickey. How can a person get a license if they can't read English or re traffic signs. That is true that's it that's another good point. You know we do have interpreter at the audit bureau. And there are people that are learning that their citizens their naturalized citizens they moved it through that process but you're right that's a very good point. Oh really quickly before we let you go wanna get your thoughts as somebody who did serve for a quite a while in the state assembly. I'd this new sports gambling laws the past Walton not along the past it's been kicked around in the state right now after the Supreme Court ruling. And do you think guys and giving your past experience that the state might be quick to act on this you know from what was talked about maybe a year or so ago. The governor. Has stated that the session time is running out it may be something prior to election that he doesn't want to look at possibly after election. I know I entered pro local which chairs the assembly to many there were provisions in the original. Lost they keep. New York State some preparation unless they were anticipating. This passing on the knew it was going to be challenged in the Supreme Court. So I do think if they want to pass a bill prior to that and the legislation they have the time to do it just whether the political wills there or not. Mickey we appreciate your time thanks for coming and thank you so much for having me that's Mickey turns the Erie county clerk if you missed any of this. And we have one segment on our FaceBook page. The rest of it at WP EN dot com.