Trump Sanctions New Yorkers

The sanction craze comes home

President Trump is unhappy with New York’s ‘Green Light Law’ which offers state driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants and also prevents the TSA from accessing Department of Motor Vehicles records.

So what is Trump doing?

He is punishing New York residents who are travelers and who may, btw, not have anything to do with the law.

It is the same method Trump is using on a grander scale against the Iranian people. He doesn’t like what the Iranian government is doing so he sanctions the flow of goods in and out of Iran, which hurts the citizens. He is also doing it on a lesser scale to Russia and now he is adopting the vicious method against Americans.

What a prick.

Specifically, the Trump administration is blocking time-saving international travel programs for New Yorkers.

State residents are barred from enrolling or renewing credentials for the Trusted Traveler system, and also the Global Entry and other programs for entering from Canada and Mexico.

I am no fan of the programs [Why not?] but it is remarkable that a president would issue an order that will make life more difficult for a class of citizens in a state that for the most part have nothing to do with Trump’s issue with the state.

According to Bloomberg, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, told reporters on a call Thursday that the ban would apply to other states considering similar legislation. The department also is reviewing other restrictions to place on New York because of its law.

Source: Target Liberty


It was a sharp and sudden escalation of tension between President Trump and his former home state: a decision by Department of Homeland Security officials to bar tens of thousands of New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that allow travelers to speed through airport lines and borders.

But the justification, unveiled late on Wednesday, may have been even more jarring. Federal authorities suggested that the state had endangered national security with a new law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

“This is unbounded arrogance, disrespect of the rule of law, hyper-political government, and this is another form of extortion,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said of the move by Homeland Security. “This is what Trump did with Ukraine. This is the ethos of his federal government.”

The conflict, which has the potential to slow the travel routines of at least 175,000 New Yorkers, stems from two vastly different approaches to immigration policy.

New York is one of more than a dozen states that have passed laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, contending it would make roads safer, provide more economic opportunity and reduce the fear of being deported for a driving violation.

But unlike other states, New York included a provision that restricted federal immigration agencies’ access to Department of Motor Vehicles records without a court order, federal officials said.

Federal authorities argued that this was hamstringing law enforcement, making it more difficult to fight everything from drug running to human trafficking, and striking at the heart of “efforts to keep our nation secure.”

“Here we have one of the other targets of 9/11, New York, walking backward, quite intentionally, in the other direction to bar the sharing of law enforcement-relevant information,” Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, said on Thursday.

Freeze on Global Entry Enrollment for New Yorkers: What We Know

The move escalated the Trump administration’s battle with cities and states over immigration enforcement, and it took New York officials by surprise. There were no negotiations between Mr. Cuomo and federal authorities; state officials only learned of the ban on Wednesday night.

“They never called, they never had a conversation,” Mr. Cuomo said.

The decision by Homeland Security affects New Yorkers who use Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry; their renewals will be cut off by the end of 2020. About 50,000 New Yorkers in the application process but who haven’t received final approval will also lose the opportunity to speed through security but will be reimbursed for their application fees, according to Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for Homeland Security.

In addition to airports, specific lanes to quickly cross over the land border — available to those in the FAST, NEXUS and SENTRI programs — are also covered by the new rules, which were announced in a letter to the New York State government from Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security. That, too, could inconvenience state residents and commercial truck drivers, who frequently cross back and forth into Canada.

Ms. Swift said if New York granted the agency access to the database, the suspension would be lifted. “This is not about granting licenses to illegal aliens,” she said.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have passed so-called green-light laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; they include solidly Democratic states like Washington and California, and conservative bastions like Utah.

Supporters of New York’s law championed it as one of the strongest in its protection of personal information, including photos, from federal immigration officials. (New Jersey passed a similar law in December, also limiting federal authorities’ access of Department of Motor Vehicles data, but it does not go into effect until next year.)

Mr. Cuccinelli said that if other states followed New York’s lead, they, too, would face similar sanctions.

“I know that the State of Washington is looking at a law like New York’s green-light law,” he said. “They should know that their citizens are going to lose the convenience of entering these Trusted Traveler programs, just as New York’s did.”

The standoff seemed likely to pour jet fuel on the long simmering feud between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cuomo, who has castigated the president for his policies on immigration and the 2017 tax overhaul, among other issues. When Mr. Trump declared last fall that he would move his primary residence to Florida, Mr. Cuomo was blunt: “Good riddance.”

But Mr. Trump, who still maintains his businesses in New York and owns a luxury aerie on Fifth Avenue, has shot back, most recently at the State of the Union address, criticizing New York City and its sanctuary city policy of not turning in undocumented immigrants suspected of crimes to ICE. He blamed that policy for the rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman by an undocumented immigrant in Queens.

The White House has in the past directed Homeland Security officials to highlight such crimes by undocumented immigrants to the public to bolster support for his aggressive immigration policies.

During Mr. Trump’s first year in office, Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, also threatened to revoke federal law enforcement funding from sanctuary cities like New York for such policies.

But on Thursday, Mr. Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration had seemingly bled into the realm of exclusive airport security lines, which often cater to frequent travelers.

Mr. Cuomo, among others, questioned if Homeland Security truly needed the state database to vet applicants to the travelers program.

Lawrence Payne, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, said the access was crucial to analyze information on applicants’ traffic offenses, like infractions for driving under the influence, that would not regularly be available to the agency. [Why would whether you have a history of DUI matter for the TSA to be satisfied you’re not a terrorist risk?]

But Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said those travelers already send substantial personal information to the federal government, and submit to a background check, when applying for the expedited travel programs, making the D.M.V. databases unnecessary.

“It is clearly a blatant attempt by the White House to score political points and perpetuate a partisan fight with New York elected officials,” Mr. Thompson said.

Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, which fought for the law, said that although New York went further than other states in limiting federal immigration authorities’ access to driving records, other states also had some form of data privacy protection in their laws.

“We don’t see any Utahans being denied Global Entry,” Mr. Choi said. “So it seems obvious this is part of Trump’s campaign targeting New York City, targeting New York State and targeting the protections we have provided for immigrant communities.”

Mr. Cuomo’s office said he was considering a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s action; the state attorney general, Letitia James, also vowed to “vigorously defend” the green-light law.

“Despite President Trump’s attempt to punish New Yorkers for passing its own laws and standing up to his xenophobic policies, New York will not back down,” Ms. James said.

The law was fiercely opposed last year by New York Republicans, who are outnumbered in a deep-blue state, and had been met with resistance from some county clerks, who administer motor vehicle offices for the state. A handful of county clerks, mostly in conservative areas in upstate New York, threatened to not comply with the law, and some filed legal challenges.

The legal challenges drew national attention, even though they were ultimately dismissed in federal court. One lawsuit filed by the Rensselaer county clerk, Frank J. Merola, got a boost when the Justice Department filed a memorandum of support in December, days before the law was set to go into effect.

The Justice Department’s lawyers suggested in the filing that the state law’s “disclosure restrictions are wide-reaching and appear aimed at frustrating the federal government’s enforcement of the immigration laws.”

On Thursday, it seemed the battle over the green-light law had been re-energized, with supporters vowing that Mr. Trump’s edict would not prompt any talk of revising or revisiting the law.

Source: The New York Times

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