Trump administration bars New Yorkers from border travel programs

Lines of vehicles wait to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali, Mexico. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI

Feb. 6 (UPI) — The Trump administration has told New York state authorities it will bar their residents from programs that speed-up their entry to the United States when they leave the country — as retaliation for the state blocking federal access to immigrants’ driving records.

The Homeland Security Department informed the state in a letter Wednesday.

New York’s Green Light Law took effect in December and allows migrants to seek driver’s licenses even if they are in the country illegally. The law also prevents U.S. Customs and Border Protection from accessing their data from the state Department of Motor Vehicles without a subpoena or court order.

The letter, addressed to New York acting Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder and Executive Deputy Commissioner Theresa Egan, said New Yorkers will be cut off from the federal programs, which allow them to use expedited lanes to cross the border or pass airport security. Such programs aid, for example, residents who frequently who travel between New York and Canada for business purposes.

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“Because the [law] prevents DHS from accessing New York DMV records in order to determine whether a [Trusted Traveler Programs] applicant or re-applicant meets program eligibility requirements, New York residents will no longer be eligible to enroll or re-enroll,” it said, authored by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

Wolf added the exporting of used vehicles that are titled and registered in New York would also be “significantly delayed.”

“These actions are the result of an initial assessment conducted by DHS,” the letter added. “We will continue to review department-wide operations related to New York and assess and mitigate the act’s adverse impact on national security and law enforcement.”

Rich Azzopardi, an adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said the DHS move amounts to “political retaliation” and the state is reviewing legal options.

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