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DOJ weighs in on Green Light Law in New York

The federal Department of Justice, for the first time is weighing in on New York’s new Green Light Law.

Under the law, effective December 14th, undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for driver’s licenses at Department of Motor Vehicle and county auto bureau facilities. The DOJ filed a memorandum Thursday as an intervenor in Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola’s challenge of the law.

The federal government only addressed the constitutionality of components of the law that restrict state and local governments from sharing information with immigration enforcement agencies. DOJ trial attorney Charles Roberts said the two sections of the Constitution provide for that information sharing.

The Green Light law, meanwhile, does restrict DMVs from asking for specific records or using information “for civil immigration purposes.” Furthermore, upon receiving a request for records from immigration authorities, the commissioner is required to inform the subject their information had been requested and by what agency within three days.

DOJ pointed out providing such notifications could potentially endanger the lives of law enforcement personnel or the public.

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