Some LI officials balk at NY law authorizing licenses for undocumented immigrants

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Some public officials on Long Island are expressing concerns about the state Legislature's move to give undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain driver's licenses in New York state.

All nine Long Island state senators, including six Democrats and three Republicans, voted against the so-called "green light bill." But it passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, making New York is the 13th state to authorize driver's licenses for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

Nassau County Clerk Maureen O'Connell is refusing to comply with the new law. While she doesn't have responsibility over the Department of Motor Vehicles, she stands in support of other clerks in upstate New York who do.

"I'm wondering why the taxpayers, law-abiding citizens, should be paying to subsidize the providing of driver's licenses to illegal aliens," says O'Connell.

State Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, of Farmingdale, who represents 130,000 residents in the 9th District, says providing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants could be a gateway to allowing them to vote in elections.

"This is just the beginning of a slippery slope where now it's going to be questioning the authenticity of our elections, voting and where New York is going in terms of government benefits," says LiPetri.

But Patrick Young, who is the downstate advocacy director of the NY Immigration Coalition, says there are 80,000 undocumented immigrants on Long Island. He estimates a little more than a third will actually take the test and get a driver's license.

"This is hardly radical," says Young. "This is more of a return to sensible approach. We don't want people driving without a license, we want everyone who drives to be licensed, tested and insured."

The law is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 16.

MORE COVERAGE: NY becomes 13th state to allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants 
NY Senate passes bill allowing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants 
Immigrants call on lawmakers to pass driver's license bill 
Dozens rally at DMV for licenses for undocumented immigrants 

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