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Politics & Government

Federal Officials Pushing Back on NYS Law that Protects Undocumented Immigrants' DMV Info

WAER File Photo

Federal immigration officials are increasing pressure on New York to overturn the state’s Green Light Law.  Governor Cuomo passed the measure to protect undocumented and other immigrants from having their information and photos used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation.  ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence argues information from DMV records can be used during active investigations with an individual or at a crime scene…

“Where officers are conducting surveillance or obtaining evidence or readying to serve a search warrant, executing arrest or attempting to rescue a victim of ongoing criminal activity.  These checks serve a critical purpose.  They provide law enforcement with invaluable information about the situation they’re about to enter.  To be clear, this information may be the difference between life and death.”

Albence was joined by members of Border Patrol, Customs, US Attorneys and other law enforcement.  Jonathan Thompson with the National Sherriff’s Association wants to make sure officers have all the information possible to keep themselves and others safe.

“In a post 9/11 environment, information is critical.  Timing is essential.  We cannot let a high-risk situation get out of control.  This is information that is key to fighting crime.  We have to work together. We have to work across party lines, and we have to work with our communities.”

Their announcement was interrupted by protestors, who continued to chant outside. 


The law enforcement officials who spoke did not address concerns that DMV information could be used against immigrants in deportation matters.  A New York law went into effect this past December allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.  The law was passed to improve safety on the roads and help with poverty by allowing immigrants to legally drive.