New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s new policy that prevents New Yorkers from enrolling or re-enrolling in the federal government’s Trusted Traveler security programs, including Global Entry.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security blocked New Yorkers from the program, citing the state’s new Green Light act that allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. The federal program enables faster passage for approved participants through security at airports and border checks.
“Because the act prevents DHS from accessing New York DMV records in order to determine whether a (Trusted Traveler) applicant or re-applicant meets program eligibility requirements, New York residents will no longer be eligible to enroll or re-enroll in (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)’s Trusted Traveler Programs,” acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a letter to the DMV.
James’ lawsuit, which is aimed at the DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the agencies’ leadership, claimed the new policy was “made as a result of an arbitrary process” and would disrupt New York’s economy.
“New Yorkers will not be held hostage by an administration intent on restraining the sovereign rights of states, while it simultaneously enacts discriminatory policies across the country,” James said. “Today, we are filing a lawsuit to stop the president and his administration from punishing New York for passing its own laws. The Trump administration’s new policy not only negatively impacts travelers, workers, commerce and our economy, but it jeopardizes public safety. No one should ever use our nation’s security as a political weapon, let alone the commander-in-chief.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo added there were “more than a dozen states – including red states – with similar laws, but President Trump and his enablers are once again taking their aim at New York’s economy in a way that not only inconveniences travelers, but also creates very real security issues.”
However, the U.S. Attorneys for all of New York’s four districts – James Kennedy Jr., Geoffrey Berman, Richard Donoghue and Grant Jaquith – issued a joint statement supporting the Homeland Security’s policy.
“The disturbing truth is that under the newly enacted statute, the Customs and Border Protection Officers working today at New York’s 13 ports of entry – which include both the busiest port on the entire northern border of the United States (the longest land border in the world), and the busiest international air passenger gateway into North America – are unable even to check the registration or the driver’s license status of individuals presenting themselves for admission into our country,” the U.S. Attorneys said in their statement.
“Border Patrol agents, who secure the border between the ports of entry, likewise can no longer check vehicle or driver’s license information,” the statement continued. “Forcing officers who serve as our nation’s frontline defense against dangerous criminals entering the country to make these important determinations in the dark dramatically diminishes the safety of all.”