Posted on June 11, 2019

Local County Clerk Won’t Give Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants, No Matter What Law Says

Anne McCloy, WRGB-TV, June 5, 2019

A battle is already looming over the controversial bill that would make it possible for undocumented immigrants to get a New York State driver’s license.

Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola says if the legislation passes, he won’t abide by the law!

“I’m going to refuse to issue a driver’s license to anyone who comes into my office that can’t prove to us they’re here legally. Federal law states we’re not allowed to aid someone who comes into our office who is here illegally,” Merola said.

The Assembly Transportation Committee is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday afternoon. It’s expected to pass both houses, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it into law. {snip}

Rennselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin says he believes this legislation is all wrong and is really a political move to give undocumented immigrants the chance to vote. He says he will support his county clerk in refusing to provide undocumented immigrants with licenses, no matter what the state law says.


Bill A3675a/S1747a would allow undocumented immigrants to get a New York driver’s license, using a foreign passport and without a social security number.

“Apparently you’re breaking the law by driving illegally without a license and without insurance and we’re not going to reward that behavior here in Rensselaer County,” McLaughlin said.

{snip} The county executive backs him all the way, saying this is the same stance the county took back when Governor Eliot Spitzer supported similar legislation.

“I’m not worried about the consequences, I mean sometimes you just have to stand up and do what you think is the right thing, and we think it’s wrong to reward illegal behavior,” McLaughlin said.