An association of New York police chiefs is supporting President Trump and his administration’s efforts to challenge a controversial New York law that prevents the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles [DMV] agencies from sharing data with federal immigration officials, resulting in the suspension of Global Entry and similar programs for all New York residents by the administration.
The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, which is made up of police chiefs, commissioners, superintendents, executives, administrators, and agents-in-charge according to their website, sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf, thanking him for notifying leaders of recent actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] in response to New York’s “Green Light Law,” and emphasized the importance of sharing information with law enforcement.
The Green Light Law allows illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license in New York, and it also prohibits the state DMV agencies from sharing any criminal records these immigrants may have with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Due to this shortcoming, DHS suspended enrollment in Global Entry and several other Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) for all state residents last week.
The letter written by President Patrick Phelan, said that the association “opposed passage of this regrettable law and we maintain that position today.”
“Our members fully recognize that sharing pertinent law enforcement information and vital resources across local, state and federal boundaries is critical to ensuring the safety of the communities we serve,” the letter said.
“It is our hope that reasonableness will prevail by all involved and that an appropriate resolution can be attained,” the letter continued. “What’s ultimately required is an operational and administrative process that prioritizes public safety for all New Yorkers and serves as its fundamental cornerstone,” the letter said.
Wolf told New York officials that the law “compromises CBP’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements” in a recent letter.
“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.
While there is support from the New York police chiefs, there is substantial Democratic opposition, as expected. New York State Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against DHS, alleging “political retribution” from the Trump administration. In addition, House Democrats have demanded the DHS to provide documents relating to the decision while calling it a “senseless, retaliatory” move.
Wolf, however, fiercely defended the decision, and said it had nothing to do with the granting of licenses to illegal immigrants, it was more about the law’s unique prohibition on information sharing.
“New York is the only state, that bears repeating, the only state that restricts CBP access to their DMV data across the board, not only for immigration purposes, but for law enforcement purposes, for customs purposes, but also for trade and travel facilitation purposes,” he told Fox News.
Wolf also indicated that applicants are supposed to be subjected to checks and those with criminal records would be disqualified from the program. New York refused to allow CBP check DMV databases in order to properly vet the immigrant applicants.
“Because New York took this action, the department had to respond and take appropriate action to make sure that the rest of the individuals in these programs continue to be able to use the program,” Wolf said. “Without access, we cannot run a proper security check and a risk assessment, and that is simply dangerous.”