NY Sues Over Ouster From Trusted Traveler Program

WCBS 880 Newsroom
February 10, 2020 - 1:29 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York state has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the Department of Homeland Security's decision to block New Yorkers from participating in Global Entry and other "trusted traveler" programs that allow people returning to the U.S. speedy reentry through customs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the ban direct retaliation for the state's new Green Light Law, which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses and prevents federal immigration agencies from accessing motor vehicle records.

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its acting-leaders on Monday.

The lawsuit argues that the policy change is arbitrary and poses a threat to New Yorkers' safety and the State's economy, directly harms hundreds of thousands of individual residents, and interferes with New York's rights as a sovereign state.  

There are 12 other states plus the District of Columbia that allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's license and Cuomo and James say the president is specifically targeting New York.

"We will not compromise our values nor back down when the federal government continues to unfairly and illegally target New York," Cuomo stated in a news release. "There are 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. Make no mistake we are fighting back and will be using every tool available to us to do so." 

"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," said James. "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."  

The feds say they had no choice but to block New Yorkers from those programs because the law endangers national security by preventing federal immigration officials from accessing motor vehicle records.

"No one should ever use our nation's security as a political weapon," James said. "Make no mistake this is a full attack, a frontal attack, on New York's right as a sovereign state."

Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of affected New Yorkers.

"This latest retaliation against New York is a thinly veiled ploy to make all New Yorkers suffer for standing with immigrants," she said.

The move is expected to impact a quarter million New Yorkers.