NEW YORK – An appeals court struck another blow Monday on a lawsuit seeking to overturn a New York law that allows immigrants without legal documents to apply for driver’s licenses.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the decision of a federal judge in Rochester to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Republican Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns.
Last year’s lawsuit sought to label New York State’s Green Light Law unconstitutional. A law, which came into effect last December, and which prevents federal immigration and customs authorities from accessing the databases of the state Department of Motor Vehicles without a court order.
Supporters said the licenses help immigrants to work, transport their families and apply for help getting into college and housing, while opponents said licenses should not be issued to people who violate federal immigration rules.
Like the lower court, the Second Circuit said Kearns had no standing to sue over the issue.
He said that since Kearns lacks the authority to implement the non-disclosure aspects of the law, he cannot challenge them.
The Green Light Act prompted the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year to temporarily block New Yorkers from signing up for travel programs that allow them to move quickly across borders and airport lines.
A message seeking comment was sent to an attorney for Kearns.
In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James praised the ruling, saying it was the third court to rule in favor of the court on separate claims.
“This law provides protection to all New Yorkers by making our roads safer, growing our economy, and allowing immigrants to step out of the shadows to register as legal drivers in our state,” he said.