The latest statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office issued Friday afternoon raised the possibility of "alternatives" to add the standoff with the federal government surrounding the freeze on trusted traveler programs and access to the state's DMV database.
The key paragraph in Cuomo's statement -- which again vows to not turn over any information that would aid the targeting of undocumented immigrants for deportation -- is this one:
"In addition, as many national, state and local law enforcement agencies currently have access to our DMV database and the potential for surreptitious access to the database is very real, I am exploring alternatives to minimize the harm caused by unauthorized use of our database such as removal of social security numbers - which could be used to evidence undocumented status - and increasing the penalty for unauthorized use of the DMV database."
The move would do a couple of things: A) Seek to reassure the undocumented immigrant community they wouldn't be tracked B) Cast the move as a broad-based privacy concern with added penalties for misuse added and C) Defuse the standoff with the federal government.
The audience for this isn't necessarily the federal government, but the Democratic-controlled Legislature, which would likely have to approve changes to the state law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses. The law bars federal immigration authorities from accessing the motor vehicle database.
But the proposal in the Friday afternoon statement -- which came after a series of interviews in which Cuomo said he offered the DMV database without Social Security numbers -- certainly appears to be the cocktail for a potential way out of the impasse.
Cuomo already does not feel the Trump administration is negotiating with him in good faith and that the goalposts are being moved, while more programs are being squeezed in order to exact some leverage. He's being the reasonable one, he says, not the feds.
But a day after the acting ICE director visited New York to discuss the issue, which has now dragged on for two weeks, it does appear there's still more to come.