New York recently adopted a “Green Light Law” that allows residents to apply for driver’s licenses without having to prove they are in the U.S. legally. This triggered action by the Department of Homeland Security, which promptly banned the state from participating in “trusted traveler” programs. The programs make it easier for people traveling internationally to get through border security.
Governor Andrew Cuomo fired back, saying he would take the matter to court. He accuses the Trump administration of “extortion” and “hyper-partisan politics.”
“The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to ban New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Program is yet another example of this administration’s disrespect of the rule of law, hyper-partisan politics and use of extortion,” Cuomo said. “There is no rational basis for this politically motivated ban, and we are taking legal action to stop the federal government from inconveniencing New Yorkers to score political points.”
The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer allow New Yorkers to enroll, or renew their membership in, certain federal programs that make it easier for people traveling internationally to get through border security, including Global Entry.
The ouster is expected to affect at least 175,000 New Yorkers now enrolled in the programs, who will be kicked out as their permits expire, plus around 30,000 commercial truck drivers enrolled in a program that eases their crossings into the U.S. from Canada.
It should be noted that the loss of membership in these programs will not prevent travel by New Yorkers to another country. It might make it a little more inconvenient.
And this is “extortion”?
In a letter to top New York state officials this week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf noted that the New York law prohibited Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agencies across the state from sharing criminal records with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids,” Wolf wrote. “In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission.”
Banning New Yorkers from “trusted traveler” programs might make it harder to travel but the state appears to want to make it easier for sexual predators to get away with their crimes.
Cuomo whining about other states and their Green Light drivers license laws ignores the real issue: non-cooperation with immigration enforcement when it comes to criminal illegal aliens. And there is great irony in accusing the Trump administration of a “politically motivated” ban when politics clearly motivates the state in its efforts to undermine the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies.