Jason Hopkins on February 12, 2020
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in what appears to be a capitulation to the Trump administration, is offering to allow some information from state DMVs to be shared with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In the midst of a battle between the New York state government and federal immigration authorities, Cuomo is expected to meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday to discuss a possible resolution to his state’s recently implemented “Green Light” law. The law bars DMVs from sharing information with immigration authorities, prompting DHS to suspend New Yorkers from applying for the country’s Trusted Traveler Programs.
Ahead of the meeting, Cuomo has said he is willing to offer the White House a compromise.
“I’ll give them the DMV database for trusted traveler,” Cuomo said during a radio interview Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. “These are people who go for an in-person federal interview with all sorts of background information. So, it’s pure politics, and that’s what I’m going to say to the president tomorrow.”
Under the state’s “Green Light” law, not only can illegal aliens obtain driver’s licenses with foreign documentation, but DMVs across the state are barred from sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
This information, federal immigration authorities say, is absolutely necessary in order to approve applicants for various traveler programs, such as the Global Entry, Sentri, Nexus, and FAST programs. Namely, authorities need to know if an applicant has a DUI or an aggravated traffic offense record — information that can only be obtained by DMVs.
There are numerous other states that also allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, and New York leaders have accused the administration of revoking these programs as a means of political retribution. Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of DHS, made clear that his department’s issue solely rests on New York’s barring of DMV information — the only state in the U.S. to do so.
“Nothing to do with drivers licenses,” Wolf tweeted Sunday. “NY is the ONLY state that restricts [CBP] access to their data across the board. Not only immigration purposes but law enforcement purposes, customs purposes and also for trade and travel facilitation purposes.”
It’s not just federal authorities who are unhappy with the state’s new law. The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police wrote a letter to Wolf, thanking him for notifying them of the “Green Light” law and reiterated their opposition to it.
“Our members fully recognize that sharing pertinent law enforcement information and vital resources across local, state and federal boundaries is critical to ensuring the safety of the communities we serve,” the letter read.“It is our hope that reasonableness will prevail by all involved and that an appropriate resolution can be attained.”
Cuomo said Wednesday that he is willing to share relevant information with DHS on a case-by-case basis, but it’s not clear if such a compromise will alleviate the administration’s concerns.
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