NY-U.S. CONFLICT INTENSIFIES
COOPERSTOWN – The Erie County clerk, Michael “Mickey” Kearns, is expected to file suit today to block the state’s “Green Light” law, according to attendees at the state Association of County Clerks strategy session yesterday in Syracuse.
Otsego County’s Kathy Sinnott Gardner and Saratoga County’s Craig Hayner said they learned of Kearns’ intent at the meeting, called by the association’s president, Judy Hunter of Steuben County.
Sinnott Gardner said she was unsure whether Otsego County would play any role in the suit, either as a “friend of the court” or more fully.
Hayner, who hadn’t yet seen what he expected to be a 19-page filing, said he would discuss the matter with the Saratoga county board on whether it would want to participate in Erie’s suit, or perhaps file a separate one.
Hayner was the first county clerk to write President Trump, asking him to direct the Justice Department to intervene to clarify what the “Green Light” law, which directs county clerks who run motor vehicle offices to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants/illegal aliens, requires of local officials. Since, 35 other county clerks have sent similar letters, to the president or the Department of Homeland Security.
He is concerned the state law, which prohibits county clerks from turning driver’s-license information over to federal ICE (Immigration Control & Enforcement) officials, puts the clerks in conflict with federal law. He pointed out the clerks, on taking office, swear to uphold both the state and U.S. Constitutions.
As of this posting, a phone call from Kearns was being awaited.