The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Feb. 20 that New York’s Green Light Law is putting people in harm’s way, and called on its politicians to change it.
“There’s no reasonable public safety purpose behind this law,” said ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence at the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office. “This law exists because politicians have chosen to place their political interest over your safety and well being and over the safety and well-being of our law enforcement officers.”
Under the law, illegal immigrants can apply for driver’s licenses. But it also blocks federal immigration agencies, like ICE and Border Patrol, from accessing DMV records.
Using the example of a human trafficking ring, Albence said they couldn’t check the license plates of cars entering and leaving the site of the crime.
Governor Cuomo (D-N.Y.), however, defended denying them access, suggesting that it could put illegal immigrants at risk of deportation.
“They want just undocumented people who are living peacefully, who have not committed a crime, are not violent, so they can disrupt families,” he said.
But Albence said this isn’t how ICE does business; he said they’re looking for specific people.
According to ICE’s FY 2019 report, “91 percent of those ICE initially arrested in the interior and subsequently removed had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of arrest.”