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Several New York State Clerks Say They Won't Give Licenses To Illegal Immigrants, Despite New Law

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some county clerks in New York are planning to defy a new state law authorizing driver's licenses for immigrants who came to the United States illegally.

Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns said Wednesday he's going to federal court with his concerns that the law, signed by Gov. Cuomo Tuesday, conflicts with federal policy.

Kearns said Buffalo-area motor vehicle offices won't grant driver's licenses to those in the country illegally and will send applicants to a state-run auto bureau in Syracuse, over two hours away by car.

MORE: Gov. Cuomo Signs 'Green Light Bill' Granting Undocumented Immigrants Access To Drivers' Licenses

Clerks in Rensselaer, Niagara, and Allegany counties are among those who have also told local media outlets they will not grant licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Kearns added that county employees are not trained to verify the foreign passports listed in the law as acceptable forms of identification.

New York is now the 13th state to authorize drivers' licenses for immigrants who entered the United States illegally.

Supporters say the bill would lower the number of uninsured people and improve safety on the roads while boosting the economy. Critics, however, say it would circumvent federal law and encourage illegal immigration.

A recent poll released by Siena College showed more than 50 percent of New Yorkers surveyed were against allowing undocumented immigrants to get drivers' licenses.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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