DHS Blocks New Yorkers From 'Trusted Traveler' Programs

WCBS 880 Newsroom
February 06, 2020 - 3:32 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- In what some are calling retaliation for New York's sanctuary status, the Trump Administration is blocking New Yorkers from enrolling or re-enrolling in "trusted traveler" programs, such as Global Entry, that allow international travelers to move through customs more quickly.

The announcement was made Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and apparently comes in response to New York's new "Green Light" law, which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the law endangers national security by preventing federal immigration, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, officials from accessing motor vehicle records.

“These are all unfortunate consequences of New York's ‘Green Light’ law," Cuccinelli said. "Obviously we would urge New York to undo that law and restore some sanity to its own attempts to help preserve public safety.”

Chad Wolf, acting head of the Homeland Security Department, called New York’s new law "disappointing" during a Fox News interview late Wednesday night. 

The changes implemented by DHS are effective immediately and and also prohibit vehicle exports. 

Millions of members nationwide are enrolled in these programs, which are meant to expedite entry into the United States for low-risk travelers. The move by DHS does not impact TSA Pre-Check.

Those who already have a "global entry" status will have it until it expires, but will not be able to renew it following this action by Homeland Security.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo describes the move as political payback by the Trump administration, telling WAMC the president has it in for New York because of policy differences.

"It's all politics," Cuomo said. "They want to make their political point, which is 'they're anti-immigrant.'"

"Polarization is their political mantra," the governor added. "And if they have to inconvenience New Yorkers to make their political point, so be it, because they're all about the politics."

The New York Civil Liberties Union also called the move a "political stunt."

"Time and time again the Trump administration has shown how far it's willing to go in its war on immigrants and to intimidate states for doing what is right," Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. "The Green Light Law makes New York's roads safer, allows immigrants to take care of their families, and reduces the risk that a routine traffic stop can result in detention or even deportation.  Our communities are stronger, safer, and better for it."

State Attorney General Letitia James said she will defend New York's laws against the president's vincidtive action.