New Yorkers can no longer enroll in trusted traveler programs like Nexus or Global Entry because of the state's Green Light Law.
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told Fox News that New Yorkers will not be accepted into programs like Nexus, Global Entry, SENTRI, or FAST.
The Department of Homeland Security said it expects some 175,000 New Yorkers to have tried to re-enroll in these programs in 2020.
Nexus allows low-risk travelers to get pre-approved by Customs and Border Protection to enter the U.S.
Homeland Security says it's making this move specifically because of New York's recently passed Green Light Law. The law allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses and permits, but keeps their application information away from federal immigration and customs enforcement.
Because of this, Wolf said the department can no longer confirm if New York residents meet the requirements for the program. Anyone currently enrolled in those programs now can still use them, but they won't be allowed to renew their membership when it expires.
An advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo said this is political retaliation by the federal government and the state is reviewing its legal options.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said the Trump administration is "misusing the federal government for political retribution. There is no factual basis for this policy — its true design is to punish New Yorkers for embracing diversity and inclusion."
A group of Erie County legislators have introduced a resolution in response to the federal government’s action, noting that New York exports $19 billion in goods and services to Canada, with trade between the two countries valued at $30 billion.
“My colleagues and I recognized there were problems with the Green Light Law from day one,” said Legislator Joe Lorigo. “When will the governor and other state leaders realize their poorly thought out, knee-jerk reaction policies have negative long-term consequences? In addition to punishing many New York residents, this decision will have a negative impact on our local economy.”
They’re calling on the state to take action to allow information collected on driver’s license applications to once again be accessible to DMV and other databases.
Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns, who unsuccessfully sued the state to try to stop implementation of the Green Light Law, is calling on legislators to consider the economic burden in addition to security concerns and repeal the law.
“Although this action will likely have an adverse impact upon economy and convenience of Western New York, it is a practical effort to secure our borders,” Kearns said. “It is my sincere hope that the federal government and the state of New York will work together to amicably resolve these concerns. As the proverb goes, ‘When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.’"
Rep. John Katko (R - NY24), in a statement released Thursday, called on Gov. Cuomo to work with DHS to reform state policy.
"Restricting access to state DMV databases prevents federal agencies from carrying out their national security missions and opens up our nation and our communities to immeasurable threats," Katko said in part. "In addition to the security gaps this policy presents, it is now inconveniencing New York State travelers and businesses.
"It is critical to the interests of New York residents and our national security, that the negative ramifications of this policy be addressed.”