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GOP Senator Blasts Drivers Licenses For New York's Undocumented Immigrants

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) - Southern Tier State Senator Fred Akshar criticized a new law that allows undocumented immigrants to earn a state drivers license.

"The so-called “Green Light Bill” flies in the face of common sense," said Akshar in a written statement. "It essentially rewards those who break the law and is a slap in the face to law-abiding New Yorkers and to new Americans who have taken the appropriate steps to do things the right way and become citizens legally."

Supporters of the measure include the Business Council of New York State, which is the state's largest business organization, and many immigrant advocates.

They said upstate immigrants require licenses for their daily commutes, for travel to health care, and for everyday errands.  Advocates also said it makes the state safer because it would lead to fewer hit-and-run accidents, where undocumented immigrants might fear deportation.

The measure passed the Democratic-controlled state senate on Monday after clearing the New York Assembly last week. "Democrat Senators had the opportunity to go against their One Party Leadership, but chose politics over the people." Akshar argues the law paves the way for undocumented immigrant to register to vote, illegally.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law Monday, but not before expressing his own reservations. Cuomo worries the new law will make it easier for federal authorities to target undocumented immigrants. He asked the state solicitor general to look into it.

"The legislation is well crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver's licenses," New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in a statement. "If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it."