(NEW YORK) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday he would meet with President Trump and offer a compromise to lift the ban on state residents who apply for federal programs that allow them to cross the border faster.
Cuomo said he intends to talk with the president on Thursday and give federal officials access to DMV records of applicants who use certain Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) such as NEXUS and Global Entry. Last week, DHS suspended TTP applications and renewals for New Yorkers because of the state’s new “Green Light” law, which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses and bars the DMV from giving up driver’s license information without a court order.
During his appearance on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, the governor said he would not hand over the entire DMV database to the feds and only provide the driver’s license data of TTP applicants.
“I will never give them access to the DMV database, but, for the TTP enrollees on a case-by-case basis, that’s different,” he said. “And it is calling their bluff because if they don’t accept this then what they’re ad missing is they’re just playing politics.”
Cuomo compared DHS leaders to “arsonists” who knock on the door, “saying I’ll burn down the house if you don’t give me entry.”
“They said, ‘I’m burning down the house anyway,'” Cuomo said.
White House representatives confirmed the meeting with Cuomo is slated for Thursday.
Roughly 200,000 New Yorkers are affected by the halt on applications, according to DHS, including 30,000 commercial truck operators who travel to Canada and Mexico. Cuomo said there is no reason for the federal government to ask for driver’s licenses from TTP applicants because they already go through strict screening before obtaining their accelerated travel credentials.
“You apply for this and you do an in-person interview with the federal government and you provide them all your documentation,” he said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a suit against the Trump administration over the TTP ban, contending it was arbitrary and capricious.
“Attorney General James is doing everything in her power to stop President Trump from punishing New Yorkers,” the spokesman said.
Javier H. Valdés, the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, an immigrant activist group, urged the governor to fight for the state’s immigrant rights when he meets with Trump.
“Cuomo must assert that we will not compromise our values and demand we draw a bright line between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement,” he said in a statement.
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