The Department of Homeland Security suspended residents of New York state from participating in Global Entry and other trusted-traveler programs, which enable people to quickly move through airport security and customs.
The announcement is a reaction to the state's Green Light Law, which allows undocumented immigrants over the age of 16 to apply for New York driver's licenses. The law, which passed last June and took effect in December 2019, also prevents U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection from accessing the state's driver's license records.
"Although DHS would prefer to continue our long-standing cooperative relationship with New York on a variety of these critical homeland security initiatives, 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," wrote Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, in a letter to the New York State government, which was obtained by the New York Times.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's office called the decision to suspend Global Entry and other travel programs for New Yorkers "an act of retaliation."
"This is obviously political retaliation by the federal government and we're going to review our legal options,” said senior Cuomo advisor Rich Azzopardi.
The U.S. Travel Association, a government entity whose mission is to increase travel and tourism to and within the United States, quickly released a statement condemning the suspension.
"Travel should not be politicized. Trusted-traveler programs enhance our national security because they provide greater certainty regarding a person's identity, citizenship and criminal background," said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president for public affairs and policy for U.S. Travel. "Suspending enrollment in Global Entry and other trusted-traveler programs only undermines travel security and efficiency. We are in contact with the Department of Homeland Security to convey this message."