Immigrant groups thrilled with new driver’s license law, county clerks are not

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MID-HUDSON – Immigrant rights organizations are ecstatic about the new law allowing undocumented people to obtain New York State driver’s licenses, but county clerks say it will place a massive burden on their offices.

Ignacio Acevedo, lead organizer for Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, said they want to assist the state in getting the program up and running.

“We still have to implement it so we want to make sure it’s done right with some oversight, even give support,” Acevedo said. “So, I think we are ready to lend a hand to New York State.”

Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall cited his reasons for concern.

“We will be presented with a multitude of foreign documents; there is no methodology in the bill to address how this will be validated,” Kendall said. “There is also the potential for persons to either knowingly or inadvertently registering to vote when they are not eligible to vote and this will increase workload in the office and given the current resources we have, this can lead to even longer waiting lines.”

Persons seeking driver’s licenses now must present a passport, a foreign driver’s license less than two years old or a birth certificate as proof of identification to qualify for a New York license, said Kendall.