DHS chief: Restrictions on New Yorkers have ‘nothing to do with illegal aliens receiving drivers licenses’


Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf denied that New York had been removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler program in retaliation for a law that allows some undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses.

“This has nothing to do with illegal aliens receiving drivers licenses. NY is the ONLY state to shut off CBP [Customs and Border Protection] access to DMV records used for law enforcement purposes in our homeland security mission,” Wolf tweeted Sunday. “Without access, CBP cannot vet Trusted Traveler applicants. It’s that simple.”

Last week, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said the administration is considering expanding the rescission of the Global Entry program to other states with similar provisions, specifically citing Washington state.

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) blasted the move last week, saying it served no security purpose.

“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.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has said the state will sue over the move. “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,” James said Friday. “We plan to take legal action and sue the Trump Administration for its unfair targeting of New York State residents.

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