Several elected leaders across the state have threatened legal action in response to New York’s new “Green Light Law,” which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses.

This week, Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns, a registered Democrat who was endorsed by Republican last election, officially filed his lawsuit in federal court. He believes he is the first person to take such action.

“Basically what we said is the Green Light Bill that was passed by the New York State Legislature, one, was unconstitutional according to the Supremacy Law in the Constitution,” Kearns said. “Federal law always trumps state law and that’s fact.”

The clerk said the state statute conflicts with federal law on several fronts. He said by allowing undocumented immigrants to get licenses, and not sharing the information with federal immigration authorities, New York is actually complicit in harboring people here illegally.

Kearns also pointed out in the suit, that part of the reason given for granting licenses, is so undocumented immigrants can get to work, which is federally illegal. He said it ultimately puts him and other clerks in the position of deciding which laws to follow and which to break.

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” he said. :That’s where we’re at.  We’re stuck in the middle of this thing and that’s why we’re going to the courts”

Kearns has been among the laws most vocal critics and has been steadfast that Erie County Departments of Motor Vehicles won’t process the licenses. He said the Trump administration has been clear its willing to prosecute local officials who stand in the way of immigration officers.

However, he also noted Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the power to remove him from office, and has not affirmatively said he will not. The suit also seeks an injunction which would prohibit the governor from taking that action.

“I have to commend the attorneys in the County Attorney’s office. They’ve been very professional. They’ve been easy to work with and I’m very thankful that we’re able to work together to get a resolution.”

The new law doesn’t go into effect into December, but Kearns, expecting the process could take some time, has also asked for an injunction to stop implementation. He said he’s willing to bring the issue all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The suit names three plaintiffs: Cuomo, Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner (and Kearns’s South Buffalo neighbor) Mark Schroeder, and Attorney General Letitia James.

“The Green Light law is well crafted and the Office of Attorney General has concluded that it is constitutional. As the state’s attorney and chief law enforcement officer, my office will vigorously defend it,” James said in a statement.

Like Kearns, Republican Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo is also looking to challenge the new law. Her office said she needs authorization from the County Legislature and the body is meeting to discuss the issue tonight.

A spokesperson for Dinolfo said various local actions could potentially be consolidated and her office is currently reviewing the suit Kearns filed.

Kearns said he also discussed the issue with other county clerks during a Monday meeting in Syracuse