By Hadassa Kalatizadeh
Just one day of disappointed travelers at NY airports, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has unleashed a lawsuit against President Trump’s administration for banning New Yorkers from using the federal government’s expedited entry program, entitled Global Entry.
On Friday, Gov. Cuomo said that the state will sue the federal government for banning it, as a sanctuary state, from enjoying federal expedited entry programs for travelers returning from overseas. “We are taking legal action to stop the federal government from inconveniencing New Yorkers to score political points,” said Cuomo. “Don’t try to extort me. And don’t try to extort New Yorkers. It won’t work.”
As reported by the NY Post, the governor bashed Trump’s act, saying it was “politically motivated.” “It’s an abuse of power. It’s extortion. It is hurting New Yorkers to advance their political agenda. And we’re going to fight back,” the governor said at a news conference in New York.
“Time and time again President Trump and his Washington enablers have gone out of their way to hurt New York and other blue states whenever they can as punishment for refusing to fall in line with their dangerous and divisive agenda,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who will oversee the lawsuit.
A day earlier, on Thursday January 6th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) temporarily barred thousands of New Yorkers from using Global Entry and similar programs that allow travelers to swiftly pass through borders and airport lines. Other affected programs include NEXUS, which expedites entry into the U.S. from Canada; SENTRI, which expedites travel into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico; and FAST which expedites entry into the U.S. for truck drivers from Canada and Mexico, as reported by Breitbart News. The ban is anticipated to affect more than 175,000 New Yorkers now enrolled in the programs, as well as about 30,000 commercial truck drivers, as per the Washington Post. The TSA PreCheck program in NY has not been affected.
The federal ban was set as a punishment for liberal NY policy, enacted in December, in which it has become a sanctuary state, providing illegal aliens and noncitizens with driver’s licenses, and blocking DHS officials from accessing the state’s identification records. On Wednesday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf exclusively told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that DHS was immediately suspending enrollment in Global Entry and several other Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) for all New York state residents in response to the state’s recently enacted sanctuary “Green Light Law.” “The Act prevents DHS from accessing relevant information that only New York DMV maintains, including some aspects of an individual’s criminal history,” explained Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in a letter to New York officials, according to a Breitbart News report.
The Justice Department, which will need to defend the suspension of eligibility in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the NY Post.
The night before the federal ban was enacted, President Trump, in his State of the Union address, condemned left-wing states and local governments that “release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public,” and asked Congress to pass a law establishing civil liability for sanctuary cities. “Just 29 days ago, a criminal alien freed by the Sanctuary City of New York was charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman,” Trump said. “The killer had been previously arrested for assault, but under New York’s sanctuary policies, he was set free. If the city had honored ICE’s detainer request, his victim would be alive today.”