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NY to sue federal government over ‘trusted traveler’ programs ban for travelers

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 20:42:01-05

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday the state will file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's plan to block New Yorkers from enrolling in “trusted traveler” programs.

Federal officials took the step as retaliation against the state’s “Green Light Law,” which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses in New York.

The law also prevents federal immigration agencies from accessing the Department of Motor Vehicle data.

Under the DHS ban, New York residents are not eligible to apply for or renew membership in U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs.

Cuomo argued 13 other states and the District of Columbia have green light laws, but New York is the only state that has been targeted for retaliation.

"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," 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."

“It will hurt regions of the state,” including Buffalo and the Adirondacks. “It will hurt the Port Authority, JFK — you’ll see more congestion,” Cuomo said.

“It hurts national security because what it did was it took a select group of people who were pre-screened at length and in-person interview with documentation and it said ‘We don’t have to worry about this person,’ so the customs and border patrol had more time to focus on other people.”

Trusted Traveler programs include Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST, which facilitate the entry of pre-approved travelers into the U.S. using expedited lanes at airports and international borders.

This article was written by Kristine Garcia for WPIX .