New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced his state’s intent to sue the federal government following the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to ban New Yorkers from Trusted Traveler Programs including Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said last week that New Yorkers are no longer eligible for trusted traveler programs because of the state’s new law that allows driver’s license access to all regardless of immigration status.
New York’s “Green Light” law allows driver’s license applicants to use foreign documents to prove their date of birth. Proponents argue that ensuring all drivers are licensed will make roads safer as applicants must pass the standard driver test; state DMVs were packed with new applicants when the law went into effect in mid-December.
The law also includes a provision blocking DMV officials from giving federal immigration officers access to driver databases without “a lawful court order or judicial warrant,” according to the text of the law. If a driver’s license holder becomes the subject of a federal immigration inquiry under the law, he or she must be notified by the DMV within three days.
Wolf announced that all New York residents are blocked from trusted traveler programs “because we no longer have access to make sure that they meet those program requirements.”
Cuomo argued the move is politically motivated and retaliation, as 13 other states and the District of Columbia have Green Light laws but New York is the only state to fall under the DHS ban.
“We’re going to sue the federal government. We believe this was arbitrary and capricious. We believe it’s illegal. We believe it’s politically motivated. We believe Deputy Secretary Cuccinelli admitted as much when he said he had spoken to Congressman Reed and Congressman Zeldin and they wanted him to take this action,” Cuomo said. “…It is adverse to the national interest and I do not think they can defend it legally.”