ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James announced on Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the Trusted Traveler Program ban.
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security said it is banning all New Yorkers from enrolling in federal traveler programs — programs that give people pre-clearance for entry into the country.
In a three page letter, DHS cites New Yorks driver’s license access and privacy act and lack of access to state department of motor vehicle records as reasons for the ban.
“The act prevents DHS from accessing relevant information that only New York DMV maintains, including some aspects of an individual’s criminal history. As such, the act compromises CBP’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements,”
“We will not compromise our values nor back down when the federal government continues to unfairly and illegally target New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “There are more than a dozen states — including red states — with similar laws, but President Trump and his enablers are once again taking their aim at New York’s economy in a way that not only inconveniences travelers, but also creates very real security issues. Make no mistake we are fighting back and will be using every tool available to us to do so.”
Cuomo said the suit directly harms hundreds of thousands of individual residents and interferes with New York’s rights as a sovereign state.
“Today, we are filing a lawsuit to stop the President and his Administration from punishing New York for passing its own laws,” James said in a statement. “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.”
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the changes would impact thousands of New Yorkers.
- 50,000 individuals have been conditionally approved for Global Entry, but have not yet completed their interview and thus will be “cut off” from completing their applications.
- 30,000 additional New York residents are currently pending the vetting process for Global Entry and will be prevented from moving forward with their applications.
- Another 175,000 New Yorkers, whose Global Entry memberships expire this year, will not be permitted to re-enroll in the program.
- Researchers estimate that reducing wait time at John F. Kennedy Airport alone could save millions of dollars in lost time.
James also says residents will see an impact at border crossings.
- 30,000 drivers in the FAST program will lose access to the automated system.
- Drivers in the NEXUS program — which, in Western New York alone, services 6,500 trips across the Peace Bridge, the Whirlpool Bridge, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and the Rainbow Bridge each day — would be severely handicapped.
- 25% of auto traffic utilizing the Peace Bridge relies on the NEXUS program and 60-percent of truck drivers utilize the FAST program.
- A car driven by a non-NEXUS driver typically takes four times longer to move across the Peace Bridge than a car driven by a NEXUS driver.