Green Light Law Is Putting Our Officers and Communities at Risk

A legislative column from Assemblyman Cliff Crouch (R-Bainbridge)

Last year, the Green Light Law passed both houses and was signed into law by the governor, much to the dismay of thousands of New Yorkers across the state. The Green Light Law, which allows illegal immigrants in New York the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, has been met with fierce opposition over the years, not only because the law extends a privilege usually only given to legal residents, but also because of the extreme nature to which it goes to protect illegal immigrants. My colleagues and I raised concerns over sealing of DMV records when this legislation came to the floor and the dangers it could pose to law enforcement.

Now, earlier this week, our exact fears were reiterated to us in a briefing with representatives of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The manner in which New York is restricting DMV information for immigration enforcement prevents ICE and CBP from obtaining important driver’s license information, vehicle registration information, photographs and other important information crucial to investigations. A routine traffic stop now puts our border officers at risk because they are in the dark when it comes to this information.

Officers entering a residence that they have a search warrant for now are impeded from researching information on cars outside of the residence, which was protocol before this law. Our officers are now blindly entering houses conducting search warrants without the protection they are used to.

We were assured that ICE was not seeking a list of illegal aliens in New York, but rather access to information that other members of law enforcement are granted. We were told that 70 percent of joint terrorism task force disruptions stem from arrests made for immigration violations. That’s a scary and troubling number. We shouldn’t be impeding our officers in the field, especially those who are crucial to the war on domestic terrorism not only in New York but across the U.S.

This is about community safety and the safety of our officers. The governor needs to re-think his stance on this legislation and meet the federal government in the middle for a compromise. Our communities and officers protecting our borders are counting on it.