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Green Light Law set to take effect Monday, but some want it delayed

Several WNY county clerks say they are not ready
Posted at 6:06 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-15 17:40:37-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — County clerks from Allegany, Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Wyoming counties joined with state senator Robert Ortt and North Tonawanda Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) staff to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to delay the roll out of the Green Light Law.

The law takes effect on Monday and will allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver's license.

The clerks say thanks to confusing regulations and lack of training, the DMV offices they oversee are simply not ready.

A big concern is validating foreign documents needed to prove identification.

The clerks say even a foreign school report card can be submitted.

DMV staffers worry they don't have enough training or support to spot false foreign documents, creating a situation where someone could get a license improperly for identification purposes.

Voter fraud is another concern.

The clerks say they've been told to look the other way, if in the process of getting a drivers license, an undocumented immigrant signs up to vote.

Supporters of the Green Light Law say other states already allow non-citizens to get a driver's license and it could help NYS figure out who is living here.

The clerks say they won't break the law - but if they aren't able to validate foreign documents - the applications will be sent to the state-run DMV office in Syracuse.

7 Eyewitness News reached out to the DMV for responses to the concerns raised, questions and responses from a DMV spokesperson are listed below.

WKBW - Do all DMV offices have the special scanner and equipment to validate foreign language documents?

DMV- Yes.

WKBW- Is the software working properly for the scanner and validation process?

DMV - Yes. The machines were tested when they were installed and the staff was provided hands-on training.

WKBW - Have staff been properly train

ed? Is more training planned?

DMV - Yes, the staff have been properly trained. The law applies to only one license transaction and the DMV is not creating a new license or overhauling the current process.

The DMV has implemented the Green Light Law in a way that is consistent with our tried-and-true method of validating someone’s name using multiple proofs. Per the law, we will be accepting additional proof documents from customers and we have provided easy-to-use tools, such as document authentication devices and resource guides, to both state and county DMV staff to assist them.
We offered two comprehensive training sessions and provided a recording of the training webinar and training materials to county clerks for continued use and reference. They were also invited to an additional webinar where the DMV answered outstanding questions, and we will continue to answer questions as they come in.

WKBW - How have DMV offices been staffed to accommodate language issues?

DMV - State-funded Language Line interpreter services are available in county offices.