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Lines form after undocumented immigrants are allowed to apply for driver's licenses in New York

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Posted at 5:41 AM, Dec 19, 2019

NEW YORK-- New York is now allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.

People lined up in the cold this week to take advantage of the state's 'Green Light Law.'

The law lets people without a Social Security number submit other forms of ID such as a passport.

Applicants must still get a permit and pass a road test.

Supporters say the law will increase the number of insured drivers and reduce hit-and-runs. But critics say the law conflicts with federal immigration law.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had concerns the law might give federal officials information about undocumented individuals that could lead to deportation.

But New York Attorney General Letitia James says the law has safeguards to prevent that.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, the spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said the law will "protect criminals at the expense of the safety and security of law-abiding New York residents."

"Besides giving drivers licenses to hundreds of thousands of people who broke our laws and have come to our country illegally, the New York law also blocks DHS law enforcement officers who investigate crimes like, child exploitation, human trafficking, terrorism, the targeting of gang members, sex offenders and drug smuggling, from accessing important public records," the tweet read. "Accessing this information is vital to building out these criminal cases, identifying criminal suspects, and enhancing officer safety."

The law applies to noncommercial driver's licenses and learner's permits.