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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Sunday, February 9, 2020
House Dems DEMAND Documents on DHS Move to SUSPEND Global Entry for New York Over SANCTUARY Law
House Democrats on Friday wrote to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf demanding documents related to the decision to suspend enrollment in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) for New York residents, describing it as a “senseless, retaliatory” move.
“We write today to express our opposition to the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discriminate against residents of the State of New York by barring them from enrolling or re-enrolling in four U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs,” Democratic House leaders -- including Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney -- wrote in the letter. “This senseless, retaliatory decisions should be immediately reversed.”
Wolf announced Wednesday that Homeland Security (DHS) was suspending enrollment for New Yorkers in response to the liberal state’s “Green Light Law,” which allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Part of that law prohibits Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agencies from sharing criminal records with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The "Green Light Law," Wolf said in a letter to New York officials, "compromises CBP's ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements."
"This Act and the corresponding lack of security cooperation from the New York DMV requires DHS to take immediate action to ensure DHS' s efforts to protect the Homeland are not compromised," he said.
Because TTPs rely on state records to verify individuals' identities and conduct thorough vetting, New York residents "will no longer be eligible to enroll or re-enroll" in select TTPs -- including Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST. The new rule does not affect existing memberships in these programs until it is time to re-enroll."
The move comes as part of a broader crackdown by the Trump administration on sanctuary policies -- many of which involve banning local law enforcement and other officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in order to shield illegal immigrants from deportation.
But the latest move sparked fury from Democrats. New York Attorney General Letitia James called the move “vindictive.” In the letter sent Saturday, which also included the signatures of New York Democrats Kathleen Rice, Yvette Clarke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they said Wolf’s justification appeared to be a “pretext.”
"We are concerned that the Department's policy change may be an improper attempt to use official DHS policy to punish the punish the people of New York because their state government has a political disagreement with the Trump Administration over immigration policy," the lawmakers said.
The committee representatives requested documents relating to the decision, including communications between DHS, the White House and other agencies. It also called for documents relating to any possible economic impact and also that justify the decision to bar New Yorkers from the programs.
The dramatic move by DHS came a day after President Trump had explicitly called out New York’s sanctuary policies in his State of the Union address, and also called Congress to pass legislation that would allow victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to sue sanctuary jurisdictions.
“The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens,” Trump said.
Fox News' Gregg Re, Chad Pergram and Alex Pfeiffer contributed to this report.