For some time now, states like New York have said they will not comply with Trump’s laws on immigration. Basically, they have declared themselves ‘sanctuary’ states or areas. This means that legislation has been passed saying that federal immigration laws do not apply within their borders.
So when ICE and CBP have orders to deport or detain illegal individuals, these sanctuary states claim they don’t have to give those people up. Nor do local or state law enforcement agencies have to cooperate with immigration authorities.
In addition, New York passed a “Green Light Law” or Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act that allows illegal aliens to obtain New York driver’s licenses while also banning their DMV database from federal agencies.
However, New York and its Governor Andrew Cuomo are learning the hard way that going up against federal laws might have some rather dire consequences.
President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it would no longer allow New York citizens to participate in its Trusted Traveler Programs. Many on the left assume that this is another attempt from Trump to partake in a little quid pro quo. But as the Department stated, it really has nothing to do with that.
You see, the Trusted Traveler programs, like Global Entry, provide legal residents of the US with quicker and easier travel options including bypassing long airport security lines both here and around the world. When an individual applies for the program, the Department of Homeland Security vets each applicant, in part, by using their DMV records, therefore, without access to the DMV in New York, the DHS can’t tell if these people meet their qualification requirements.
As DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a recent statement, “Today, we sent a letter to New York indicating because they took these measures that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs. They can’t enroll or re-enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs that Customs and Border Protection offers because we no longer have access to make sure that they meet those program requirements.”
Wolf added, “New York’s ‘Green Light Law’ is ill-conceived, and the Department is forced to take this action to ensure the integrity of our Trusted Traveler Programs. It’s very clear: this irresponsible action has consequences. CBP is able to offer Trusted Traveler Programs like Global Entry because we are able to sue DMV data to make an evidence-based assessment that those individuals who seek this benefit are low risk and meet the eligibility requirements. Without the DMV information, we aren’t able to make that assessment. We must do our job.”
Suddenly and soon after this announcement was made, Governor Cuomo had a change of heart. He told Long Island News Radio on Wednesday, “I’m going to meet with the president tomorrow. He offered a meeting, the earliest availability was tomorrow, and I took him up on it.”
Cuomo added, “I will give them the DMV database for Trusted Traveler. These are people who go for an in-person federal interview with all sorts of background information.”
And apparently, upsetting these people is something he would rather not do. After all, what government leader likes having hoards of their constituents breathing down their necks to make changes, particularly ones that are good for them and not illegals taking up residence here.
However, it is noted the governor himself cannot make any such real deals. He will need to convince both houses of the state legislature that this is the right move. But with all the problems this could cause for the state, it will likely take little convincing for them to support whatever deal Cuomo and President Trump make.
And while Cuomo and President did, in fact, meet on Thursday to discuss a possible deal being made, Cuomo has made it clear that he doesn’t like any of it.
He told CNN, “I’m calling their bluff by saying, you said you want access to the DMV database for TTP? I’ll give it to you. I don’t believe that’s what they want. I believe they just want political noise because they really want to make their argument about immigration.”
And more than likely, the White House does want information that could help with immigration issues, but that doesn’t mean that that same data isn’t being used for Trusted Travelers. Democrats just want that to be true so they might have another leg to stand on against Trump.