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Federal Judge Dismisses Challenge To Law Granting Drivers Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) - A challenge to New York’s law that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses was thrown out in a federal court, after Judge Elizabeth Wolford said the person who brought the lawsuit, Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns, did not have standing to bring the claim.

Kearns says the action still does not answer his question on whether the law itself is constitutional. He says the court action is just round one in an ongoing fight that he predicts will end in a legal “show down” .

“If folks are present in the country illegally, and they want to come to Erie County for a driver’s license, let me save them the trip,” said Kearns. “I will not be issuing a drivers’ license to any illegal immigrants.” ”

Kearns, an independent democrat who ran on the republican line for his current post, says he’s considering appealing and even asking President Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr to step in and decide the matter.

State Attorney General Tish James praised the judge’s decision.

“Today’s decision reinforces our position all along — the Green Light law is legal and enforceable.” James said in a statement. “The law aims to make our roads safer, our economy stronger, and allows immigrants to come out of the shadows to sign up as legal drivers in our state.”

Meanwhile, immigrants’ rights groups celebrated the court decision. Make the Road co executive director,   Javier H. Valdés, said in a statement that the group is pleased with the “dismissal of the Erie County Clerk’s frivolous lawsuit”. He says the ruling shows that “racism, xenophobia and political opposition alone do not give someone standing to challenge this law”.

Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following said in a statement that he’s not surprised that the judge ruled against what he called a “useless political stunt”.

The law will now take effect as planned on December 14th.