After New York State’s “Green Light” law went into effect, and a similar bill went into effect in New Jersey in December, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the agency will be reviewing 14 states' laws that allow illegal immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses without sharing that information with the DHS.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said that illegal immigrants having driver’s licenses would make the road safer.
Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ordered the agency to conduct a department-wide review of the state laws to determine how they affect their day-to-day operations, according to a memo obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Accordingly, I am instructing each operational component to conduct an assessment of the impact of these laws, so that the Department is prepared to deal with and counter these impacts as we protect the homeland,” the memo states.
In addition to allowing driver’s licenses, both New York and New Jersey laws restrict their respective states’ Department of Motor Vehicles data from being shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.
The licenses do not state citizenship status. In both states, in addition to address confirmation a driver’s license can be used to register to vote.
According to a 2018 New Jersey Policy Perspective analysis, an estimated 466,000 illegal immigrants of driving age live in New Jersey. In 2018, Gurbir Grewal, the Democratic New Jersey Attorney General, issued a directive prohibiting local and state law enforcement from cooperating with ICE agents attempting to apprehend illegal immigrants.
Numerous county clerks in New York have publicly expressed their opposition to the bill.
Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns, a Democrat in western New York state, which borders Canada, expressed his concern to Fox News. He said, “I’m now going to have to accept a report card from a foreign country and foreign documentation, a foreign passport as authenticated documents. I, myself, as the clerk am going to have to do that. So they have diminished a New York state driver’s license and we’re very concerned for our safety and security because western New York is a border to Canada.
“This is all a power grab for the ballot box in New York, trying to give illegal [immigrants] the right to vote,” Kearns added. “We are not – today, we are less secure than we were. And a driver’s license is a privilege, but, also, it’s for identification.”
Kearns also said “‘absolutely’ an illegal alien could participate in an election because of this new law.”
Critics of the policies argue non-citizens in the country illegally obtaining driver’s licenses opens the door for rampant voter fraud, identity theft and other crimes.
The DHS has publicly opposed New York’s green light law, arguing it creates dangerous consequences.