ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to ban New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that expedite border crossings.
DHS last week prohibited New York residents from signing up for four Trusted Traveler programs that allow low-risk travelers such as truckers to quickly cross borders in response to the state’s “Green Light Law” that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses — and blocked the feds from accessing state motor vehicle records.
The Democratic governor, in an interview with Long Island News Radio host Jay Oliver, said he’s willing to offer the president a concession of sorts by granting federal authorities access to records for New Yorkers applying for the Trusted Traveler programs.
“They have it already through the FBI, but I’ll give it to you; if that’s what you want. you can have it,” the governor said. “This is like a person at the door saying, ‘Let me in or I’ll burn down the house.’ And I said, ‘OK, you are invited in.’ And they said, ‘We will burn down the house anyway.’”
The feds say they need access to the state’s DMV data in order to vet those who apply to the programs.
Cuomo countered Wednesday, saying that simply isn’t true and accused the feds of retaliating against the state for its stance on immigration and trying to undermine the “Green Light Law.”
The measure, which went into effect in December, includes a passage that blocks federal agencies from accessing New York’s Department of Motor Vehicle records to ensure they can’t use the system to target undocumented drivers for deportation.
Cuomo said that’s not going to change.
“I will never give them access to the DMV database, but for the TPP enrollees, on a case-by-case basis, that’s different. And it is calling their bluff because if they don’t accept this then what they’re admitting is they’re just playing politics,” Cuomo said during a second radio interview on WAMC.
Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Monday, arguing that 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.
“It’s pure politics and that’s what I’m going to say to the president tomorrow,” the governor said.
Cuomo and Trump traded barbs last weekend as the president blasted his former home state for taking legal action against him and accused the governor of canceling a White House meeting.
“Very hard to work with New York — So stupid,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “All they do is sue me all the time!”