New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he plans to sue the Trump administration over its plans to stop New Yorkers from enrolling in “trusted traveler” programs, a move the administration said was provoked by the state’s sanctuary city policies toward illegal immigrants.
In a statement Friday, Cuomo’s office called it a “politically motivated ban,” after Department of Homeland Security officials said the move is in response to New York’s recently enacted sanctuary "Green Light Law" that allows residents to apply for driver's licenses without having to prove they are in the U.S. legally.
"The Department of Homeland Security's decision to ban New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Program is yet another example of this administration's disrespect of the rule of law, hyper-partisan politics and use of extortion,” Cuomo said. “There is no rational basis for this politically motivated ban, and we are taking legal action to stop the federal government from inconveniencing New Yorkers to score political points."
The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer allow New Yorkers to enroll, or renew their membership in, certain federal programs that make it easier for people traveling internationally to get through border security, including Global Entry.
The ouster is expected to affect at least 175,000 New Yorkers now enrolled in the programs, who will be kicked out as their permits expire, plus around 30,000 commercial truck drivers enrolled in a program that eases their crossings into the U.S. from Canada.
Cuomo said the lawsuit will be brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The statement from Cuomo’s office said “13 other states and the District of Columbia have Green Light Laws, but New York is the only state that has been targeted by this administration for retaliation.”
In a letter to top New York state officials this week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf noted that the New York law prohibited Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agencies across the state from sharing criminal records with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids," Wolf wrote. "In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission.”
President Trump has been singling out New York in recent months, harshly criticizing it over its sanctuary policies.
The president assailed New York City officials in his State of the Union address over its policy of not turning over some criminal defendants wanted for immigration violations. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also recently sent subpoenas to law enforcement in Denver and New York seeking information on immigrants they hope to deport.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.