Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli on Thursday said he will consider expanding the rescission of the Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler programs for New Yorkers to other states that adopt laws like the ones that triggered the agency's action.
The Department of Homeland Security prevented New Yorkers from accessing the programs that allow travelers to speed through airport controls after the state barred agencies such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement from accessing the database of the New York's Department of Motor Vehicles without a court order.
That law, called the Green Light Law, also allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.
“I know that the state of Washington is looking at a law like New York’s ‘Green Light Law,’” Cuccinelli said Thursday on a call with reporters. “They should know that their citizens are going to lose the convenience of entering these Trusted Traveler Programs, just as New York’s did.”
Cuccinelli, one of the administration’s most hardline voices on immigration, said the federal government could not conduct background checks for the Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler programs without access to state Department of Motor Vehicles data.
“It’s the barring of access by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles to our ability to see, for instance, ‘Do you have a fugitive warrant? What’s your criminal record?’” Cuccinelli said.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) blasted the restrictions on New Yorkers, saying it was “purely punitive” and served no security purpose.
“It is clearly a blatant attempt by the White House to score political points and perpetuate a partisan fight with New York elected officials,” Thompson said in a statement Thursday, in which he blasted acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Biden, Trump battle over who's to blame for Afghanistan The border is shifting from a manufactured crisis to a national embarrassment MORE for making the announcement to Fox News’s Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonSunday shows - Buttigieg warns supply chain issues could stretch to next year Bill Kristol: Buttigieg entitled to call Tucker Carlson a 'repulsive bigot' Paid family leave is 'not a vacation,' Buttigieg says MORE before making it to state officials.
“To be clear, applicants already submit their passport, proof of residence, and fingerprints – and submit to a background check and interview. A driver’s license is not even required to apply. Trusted Traveler programs exist to improve security and travel efficiency, and barring access for millions of Americans will only undermine those goals,” Thompson said.
“Congress needs to respond to this abuse of power – we will not stand by while this Administration repeatedly plays politics with our homeland security,” he added.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) also castigated the move and said state officials would not yield to pressure.
“As the state’s attorney and chief law enforcement officer, I will continue to vigorously defend New York laws and our state’s residents against the president’s vindictive actions. New Yorkers will not be targeted or bullied by an authoritarian thug,” James said Thursday, referring to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE.