Implementation of 'Green Light Law' complicates DMV's job, brings protest locally
A change in the law, called the "Green Light Law," that would allow people in the United States without legal permission to be here to obtain a driver's licenses is getting push back in Genesee County from local residents and the County Clerk.
A small group of residents staged a protest outside County Building #1 this morning. Also this morning, County Clerk Michael Cianfrini announced a moratorium on new driver's permits because he is concerned about the lack of training his staff has received about the new law.
"We're out here because we disagree with Gov. Cuomo about the law," said Carl Hyde, or organized the protest. "We're American citizens and we have a right to freedom of speech and to say the law is wrong and we disagree with it."
He expressed concern about DMV staff locally not receiving adequate training to inspect documents from other nations and decide if documents that are presented to determine identity are legitimate documents.
That's also the worry of Cianfrini, who has been hoping the governor would delay implementation of the law or a court would intervene to at least slow down its implementation.
"As it became obvious that none of these were going to happen, I consulted with county management and our county attorney and decided that this was the best course of action in the very short term," Cianfrini said. "As the state has changed many of the policies and procedures that we use to process new applications while providing minimal training and information on exactly how to handle various situations, we were uncomfortable with completing the transactions."
He said that if clerks were presented with documents they could not verify or authenticate, or if the clerks suspected fraud, they would be prohibited from contacting law enforcement and from keeping copies of the docuemnts. At the same time, he said the county DMV has been told to handle suspicious documents "as we always have."
"I am afraid that we will either take a copy of something or report something that we shouldn’t, and find ourselves in violation of the law, or accept and process something that we shouldn’t and likewise run afoul of the law," Cianfrini said. "As we do not discriminate against anyone based upon a suspicion of country of origin or suspected legal status, we felt it necessary to implement this blanket moratorium on new permits to protect ourselves and to be in a position to handle the transactions properly when we start issuing them again. It is my sincere hope that we will be able to begin processing new permit transactions again within the next few days."