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A matter of leadership

September 23, 2019 05:35 pm Updated: September 23, 2019 08:16 pm

It’s not over until the fat lady sings, the old saying goes, but she can barely be heard clearing her throat over the din of the latest New York House Republican protest against the new Green Light law.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the six House representatives raised red flags about the law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in New York.

The letter argues that by stipulating privacy guidelines so Departments of Motor Vehicles do not release undocumented immigrants’ information, the law creates a discrepancy with federal immigration law. The representatives also raised concerns about voter registration fraud and security.

This from the same Republican Party that has supported more restrictive voting laws, not against immigrants, but against African-Americans and Latinos who are U.S. citizens. The irony would be delicious if it weren’t so sad.

Republicans point to polls conducted by the Siena College Research Institute published this week that found that half of New Yorkers oppose the law, down from 53% in August. Again, this is the same Republican Party that often dismisses or criticizes polls as inaccurate. Republicans also forget that granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants was standard policy in the state until former Gov. George Pataki stopped it.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James remains steadfast on the law’s constitutionality. She said Friday that the Green Light law aims to make New York roads safer and its economy stronger.

James added that the law is well-crafted and that she and her office will vigorously defend it.

This is the kind of leadership the state will need if the Green Light law is to prevail.