Green Light Law would benefit many businesses, farmworkers in state
The Green Light Law allows undocumented migrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Undocumented migrants work primary in agriculture. Richard Ball, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture told Syracuse.com on Jan. 30 that approximately half of New York farm labor force is undocumented.
Without undocumented farmworkers, farms in Wyoming, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Ontario counties and across the state would fail. The federal government handles immigration policy, not the state.
However, the state is responsible for the people within its borders. It is important to understand that farmworkers are important to our farms, our community and our economy.
Licenses issued under the Green Light Law will say “Not for Federal Purposes.” They can not be used to register to vote, for passports or for benefits.
To apply for a license you have to show documents of your age, identity and that you live in NYS. Then they will take the same written and road test the rest of the residents in the state take. If they pass, they can obtain a driver’s license, register their car and obtain car insurance. Studies in states that have similar laws shows a lower average traffic fatality rate.
The Business Council of New York, the state’s largest business lobbying group, supports the law. They point out that this law will create business opportunities, and benefit employers such as farmers.
The Green Light Law will make it easier for farmworkers to participate in their communities, their schools and churches. It makes our roads safer, and it helps our economy grow. Forcing people to be isolated from their community and limiting their economic opportunity by law (or because of personal preference of some county clerks) is a form of institutional racism.
I strongly urge the county clerks to re-consider their position on this issue.