Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State’s intent to sue the federal government following the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to ban New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Program.
On June 17, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the controversial Green Light Law, allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses in New York and preventing federal immigration agencies from accessing this Department of Motor Vehicle data. Cuomo claims that the Trump administration’s ban is “politically motivated retaliation” for New York’s Green Light Law. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have Green Light Laws, but New York is the only state that has been targeted by this administration for retaliation, Cuomo says.
The lawsuit which will be brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, will argue that the Federal Department of Homeland Security has violated New York’s sovereign immunity, not provided our residents with equal protection and is acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner that denies the rights and privileges of all New Yorkers. Letitia James has also been defending challenges to New York’s Green Light Law.
“Time and time again President Trump 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,” Governor Cuomo said. “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. There is no rational basis for this politically motivated ban, and we are taking legal action to stop the federal government from inconveniencing New Yorkers to score political points.”
“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 Attorney General 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. We will not allow New Yorkers to be targeted or bullied by an authoritarian thug.”
Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS, and FAST, facilitate the entry of pre-approved travelers into the United States using expedited lanes at airports and international borders. Under the Department of Homeland Security’s ban, residents of the State of New York will no longer be eligible to apply for or renew membership in U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Programs. Such programs are operated by the Department of Homeland Security who independently verifies identity and citizenship, and Cuomo claims that DMV data and information is not necessary for such programs, a position that the Department of Homeland Security disagrees with.