Illegal Immigrant Driver’s License Law Sparks Political Feud Impacting 30,000 Truckers
Albany, NY – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is furious with President Trump and is accusing him of “political retribution” over the state’s new law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week announced sweeping changes impacting more than 200,000 New Yorkers enrolled in certain Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP).
The DHS says it will prohibit New Yorkers from applying for or renewing their enrollment in certain TTPs.
The action will phase out as many as 30,000 New York truckers currently enrolled in the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program.
The FAST program allows for expedited processing at U.S. ports of entry for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements.
The move comes in response to New York implementing the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Green Light Law), which grants illegal immigrants the right to obtain driver’s licenses and prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from sharing information with DHS.
DHS says added security measures are needed because the Green Light Law prevents U.S. Customs and Border Security (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from “fully vetting” New York residents applying for TTPs.
Governor Cuomo isn’t buying it.
“You can’t punish hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to play politics,” Cuomo said Thursday during an appearance on MSNBC. “Really what they want are the undocumented people who are in our database to give to ICE and they’re offended we give licenses to undocumented drivers because we want to keep our people safe on the road.”
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DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf fired back at Gov. Cuomo calling New York’s refusal to share information “dangerous.”
“This is about security. This is not about politics. CBP needs access to this database to run their security checks on our Trusted Travelers. It’s that plain and simple,” Wolf argued Thursday during an appearance on Fox News.
Gov. Cuomo conceded that information such as criminal history and driving records of those applying for TTPs should be shared with ICE and CBP.
He publicly offered a compromise.
“New York state will give the data for anyone who applies for Trusted Traveler Programs. I give up,” Cuomo said.
President Trump met with Gov. Cuomo at the White House on Thursday afternoon, but before the meeting, he took to Twitter to sound off on the matter.
I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020
The Governor emerged from that meeting and indicated no deal was reached.
However, he later took to social media to clarify that President Trump is “open” to working out a solution and promising to “continue the conversation in the coming week.”
Wrapped up my meeting with the President. I restated my initial solution: NY is willing to provide DMV records for NYers applying to TTP. He’s open to working with us on this and we’ll continue the conversation in the coming week.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 14, 2020
Despite the political rancor, it seems a solution may well be worked out in the coming days.
Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com for the latest developments.
Photos courtesy of CBP, White House, Gov. Cuomo