Court Battles

New York sues Trump administration over Trusted Traveler ban

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New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Monday sued the Trump administration over a policy barring state residents from federal Trusted Traveler programs.

James had previously said the state would sue over the policy, which the administration has argued is due to a state law that restricts Customs and Border Protection (CBP) access to state Department of Motor Vehicles data.

Trump officials such as acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli have argued the New York law prevents them from vetting applicants to the traveler program.

Critics of the administration’s move, such as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), have said the new policy affecting New York serves no security purpose.

Cuccinelli has suggested the administration will take similar action against Washington state.

The lawsuit, filed against CBP and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), argues that the the policy was arbitrarily imposed and violates New York’s rights as a sovereign state.

“New Yorkers will not be held hostage by an Administration intent on restraining the sovereign rights of states, while it simultaneously enacts discriminatory policies across the country,” James said in a statement. “The Trump Administration’s new policy not only negatively impacts travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, but it jeopardizes public safety. No one should ever use our nation’s security as a political weapon, let alone the commander-in-chief.”

The lawsuit also accuses the administration of violating the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the post-9/11 statute that created the Trusted Traveler program. The new DHS rule, the lawsuit argues, “disregards the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, but also profoundly jeopardizes public safety for New Yorkers and all travelers. Defendants have intentionally made us less safe.”

A CBP spokesperson told The Hill that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

DHS referred The Hill to a statement issued by Wolf last week in which he said the policy had “nothing to do with drivers licenses and everything to do with the breakdown in information sharing.”

Tags Bennie Thompson Chad Wolf Lawsuit Trusted Traveler

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