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Kearns continues to sound warnings over "reckless" Green Light Law

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Mike Desmond/WBFO
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Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns has been a very vocal opponent of Albany's Green Light Law. With the law ready to go into effect, Kearns again is highlighting the difficulties county clerks will face in implementing the change.

The Green Light Law allows people who are in the country illegally to be issued licenses, perhaps using documents of unknown provenance as proofs of identity.

"It says in the statute that my job and my responsibility will be to authenticate those documents," Kearns explained.

"I'm literally going to have to read every single one of those documents. I'm going to have to personally approve every single license that comes into the clerk's office."

He expects it to be a lengthy, cumbersome process.

"What's the next step if that person is rejected by the local offices? Can those be forwarded to other offices? A state office?"

The county clerk says Albany has just delivered equipment which is supposed to resolve that problem but it came without instructions or training on using it.

"The State of New York has been reckless when it's come to this," Kearns said. "They haven't been supportive of the clerks and the clerks are very frustrated. They're upset. Many of the clerks are talking about withholding money from the state."

The clerks filed a suit in federal court to stop the law from going into effect. Kearns expects a decision to be handed down on Thursday.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.