Cuomo Meets With Trump Over Expedited Traveler Program Ban

February 13, 2020 by Dan McCue
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with President Donald Trump Thursday afternoon to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to ban New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that expedite border crossings.

The meeting between the two men, scheduled to start at 3 p.m., was their first since the DHS last week prohibited New York residents from signing up for four Trusted Traveler programs that allow low-risk travelers such as families and business people to pass through airports and truckers to quickly cross borders.

The ban was imposed by the Trump administration in response to the state’s “Green Light Law” that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses — and blocked federal law enforcement from accessing state motor vehicle records.

Though Trump hosted a formal ball for the nation’s governor’s this past weekend as part of the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, Cuomo, the vice chair of the organization, was a no-show at the White House.

In an interview with Long Island News Radio this week, Cuomo said he was willing to compromise to a degree, granting federal authorities access to records for New Yorkers applying for the Trusted Traveler programs.

But when he left the White House meeting, which was also attended by Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, it appeared little progress had been made. Cuomo did not speak to reporters before he left, and by 4:30 p.m.., he was en route to the airport. 

N.Y. Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Monday, arguing the DHS violated New York’s sovereign immunity, failed to provide residents with equal protection and is acting in an “arbitrary and capricious manner” that denies the rights and privileges of all New Yorkers.

“The Trump Administration’s new policy not only negatively impacts travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, but it jeopardizes public safety. No one should ever use our nation’s security as a political weapon, let alone the commander-in-chief,” James said.

The Department of Homeland Security has said it needs access to all of the state’s DMV data in order to vet those who apply to the programs.

Cuomo maintains this is not true and has accused the administration of retaliating against the state for its stance on immigration and trying to undermine the “Green Light Law.”

“It’s pure politics and that’s what I’m going to say to the president,” Cuomo said during the radio interview.

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