As lines get longer and longer at the local DMV Offices due to the new NY State Green Light law, , Dutchess County Clerk Bradford Kendall, back in December, ordered the Dutchess County run DMV offices to stop processing transactions for out of county residents and to ONLY process Dutchess County residents transactions REGARDLESS of their immigration status. Several Putnam County residents have contacted HamletHub and took to facebook to protest the move after they spent hours waiting on line at the Pawling DMV, only to be told they would not be helped.
Several of those social media posters contacted the office of State Senator Pete Harckham (D–South Salem) whose district includes Pawling, for help and Jennifer Castelhano, a staffer in Harckham’s wrote in response to one constituent 'scomplaint:
As a follow up, we have been advised by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles that the Pawling office must process applications for all eligible customers regardless of county residency. We hope this information is helpful to you.
Director of Constituent Services
Peter B. Harckham, 40th Senate District
1 Park St., Suite 302
Peekskill, NY 10566
(914) 241-4600 ext 1656
Several Facebook posts reported that despite the above email from Senator Harckham's office, the staff at the Pawing DMV are still turning away non-county residents.
Tom Staudter, the Senator’s Director of Communications told HamletHub in a telephone interview this afternoon “This office has received several complaints from residents regarding the issue and we are currently in contact with Local and State officials regarding this and we are investigating the situation”.
The ban on out of county residents using the facilities has caused unusually long lines at the Brewster DMV (run by Putnam County) with wait lines of up to 5 hours in some cases as lines stretch out into the parking lot and around to the rear of the building.
Putnam Count Clerk Michael Bartolotti told HamletHub “We are aware of the long wait time at the facility and will, with the County Executive and County Legislators full support, be adding staff and work stations to speed things up” Putnam County has also “redesigned the interior of the office to provide more room for citizens that have to wait so they are not outside in the cold”. Bartolotti also told HH that he hopes to have the staff trained and extra work stations in place and running by the end of the month and that those measures will decrease wait times significantly. He also told HH that the current situation is a direct result of the State’s new Green Light Law that went into effect in Mid December and which allows undocumented immigrants (AKA Illegal Aliens) to obtain NY State Drivers Licenses.
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R-Mahopac), who represents Putnam County, said what Dutchess County did “was highly inappropriate. It was not discussed with neighboring county officials to assess the possible ramifications and it should have been, especially in these times, we should all be working together to better serve the people of NY State. It is my understanding that this situation was directly caused by the Cuomo Administration and State Democrats who sponsored the Green Light Law”. It is a shame that Dutchess County has decided to treat anyone not from Dutchess as second class citizen” and he hopes for a quick resolution to the matter.
According to the New York State DMV, the Green Light law has left DMV staffers scrambling to accommodate a deluge of individuals who start lining up at DMV Facilities hours before opening.
Lisa Koumjian, assistant commissioner for communications for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, said more than 300 people have been hired by the DMV so far to meet new demands. "The number goes up every few days," she said. "We are actively hiring. At at least 270 of those new hires are in New York City and Long Island locations."
The Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, better known as the Green Light bill, made NY one of 13 states to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. It went into effect on December 14. It allows all New Yorkers age 16 and older to apply for a standard, “not for federal purpose, non-commercial driver license or learner permit” regardless of their citizenship or lawful status in the United States. Driver license applicants who have never been issued a Social Security Number are eligible to apply.