NY to sue Trump administration over decision banning residents from 'trusted traveler' program

NY to sue Trump administration over decision banning residents from 'trusted traveler' program
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New York state will sue the Trump administration over a new rule that would block its residents from enrolling in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs (TTPs).

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who will file the upcoming lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday, accused the Trump administration of singling out the Empire State for allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses even though other states had adopted similar laws.

“This is political retribution, plain and simple, and while the president may want to punish New York for standing up to his xenophobic policies, we will not back down,” said James. “We plan to take legal action and sue the Trump Administration for its unfair targeting of New York State residents.


“This new policy will negatively impact travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, so we will fight the president’s shortsighted crusade against his former home,” she added. “We will not allow New Yorkers to be targeted or bullied by an authoritarian thug.” 

Neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who announced the lawsuit, nor James clarified precisely when the suit against the administration would be filed.

The announcement comes a day after acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfTop House Oversight Democrats ask DHS to reduce immigrant detainee population Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children Hillicon Valley: Malicious emails spike amid coronavirus | Real ID deadline delayed one year | Trump officials to limit Huawei's chip access MORE announced the administration’s new policy. Wolf specifically cited in a letter to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles a New York law that forbids the state from supplying data to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Wolf explained that his agency uses that data to obtain information about criminal networks and to ensure that individuals are of low-risk status and eligible for TTPs with their criminal records. He also slammed the rule allowing undocumented residents to apply for a driver’s license while protecting their information from federal immigration agencies as “disappointing.”

“They can’t enroll or reenroll 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 said on Fox News later Wednesday. “So, we need to do our job.” 


Under the new DHS policy New Yorkers will not qualify for four specific programs run by CBP: Global Entry for international travel, NEXUS for travel between U.S. and Canada, Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection for travel to and from Canada and Mexico only and the Free and Secure Trade program for truck drivers shipping commercial products across the U.S. borders with Canada or Mexico. 

Wolf said Friday he had spoken to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and maintained that the new policy was unrelated to New York's law regarding driver's licenses.

"I made clear to the governor that if the State of New York restores access to mission-critical law enforcement information, then New Yorkers will once again be able to enroll in CBP Trusted Traveler Programs," he said in a statement. "I also made clear to the governor that this action has nothing to do with drivers licenses and has everything to do with the breakdown in information sharing from the State of New York."

Cuomo claimed that the latest rule is another effort by President Trump to attack New York.

The White House and state officials have been entangled in a number of feuds since Trump took office as New York pursues investigations into the president's businesses and finances. 

“Time and time again President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE and his Washington enablers have gone out of their way to hurt New York and other blue states whenever they can as punishment for refusing to fall in line with their dangerous and divisive agenda,” said Cuomo.

“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,” he said.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Updated at 3:34 p.m.