After the passage of New York’s so-called “Green Light law” that made driver’s licenses available to illegal aliens, DHS suspended the ability of New Yorkers to enroll in or renew their status in various Trusted Traveler programs. Members are vetted in terms of not posing a security risk and allowed to skip the long lines at customs when flying into the country or when driving through border crossings. This led to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arranging a meeting with President Trump to offer a “compromise” wherein that prohibition could be lifted. It was a terrible offer and the President rightly rejected it.
Despite the unpleasant and very public spat that ensued, Cuomo is coming back with another offer. Let’s just say that I hope he’s not holding his breath for a better result this time. (Newsday)
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday made public another option to get the Trump administration to restore New Yorkers to “trusted traveler” programs to help them speed through airports security checkpoints, while also issuing a warning to New York law enforcement agencies that might provide full driver’s license data to federal officials.
Cuomo said he offered to provide the driver’s license records that the Trump administration demands, but without any reference to Social Security numbers, which could identify people who are in the country illegally.
Cuomo said he had previously offered this option to federal officials in private meetings and it was rejected.
I fail to see how this proposal is going to do any better than the last one. What Cuomo needs to realize is that Donald Trump isn’t the person he needs to convince here. He needs to satisfy the requirements of DHS regarding their ability to adequately check the backgrounds of applicants to the Trusted Traveler programs. If you strip out the Social Security numbers from the DMV records, how is DHS supposed to know who they are vetting?
What if one of the applicants is named John Smith? Without his SSN, you’re going to be looking through one heck of a lot of people’s records trying to come up with a match. Even more to the point, what if the applicant is named Diego Sanchez? (That’s about as common as John Smith in Mexico.) The same situation applies.
The problem here isn’t Trump or DHS or the Trusted Traveler programs themselves. The sticking point is that New York passed a law forbidding the release of DMV information to CBP because they were afraid the information could be used to identify illegal aliens. And because we’re talking about New York, illegal aliens are a privileged demographic who must be protected at all costs, despite the fact that they are breaking the law.
Cuomo obviously knows this, but he’s got a show to put on for his base. Unless the Green Light law is modified or repealed, it’s tough to see any compromise that could end this standoff. For his part, Cuomo continues to claim that he won’t budge. On Friday, he said, “I think they are doing it to increase pressure and increase pressure until I say, ‘OK, I will give you the DMV database. And I won’t do that.”
Fine. If you won’t do that, then you can explain to all of the voters in New York who would like to be in the Trusted Traveler programs why they have to wait in long lines at customs in New York’s airports or when they’re trying to drive across the border to New York or Mexico. Neither the President nor DHS is the one holding them up. It’s the state legislature and the Governor who passed the Green Light law.
The real irony here is that Cuomo is fighting tooth and nail to defend a law that most New Yorkers, including many Democrats, opposed. When it was under consideration we saw one poll after another saying that a majority of Empire State voters opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. But the bill was signed into law anyway. And now it’s causing problems for frequent travelers.
But don’t worry, Governor. I’m sure that any votes you lose from frustrated travelers will be made up for by all of the illegal aliens who are now driving around. Oh, wait…