New York to Sue Trump Administration Over Global Entry Freeze

New York State officials said on Friday that they planned to sue the Trump administration over its decision this week to ban thousands of New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that allow travelers to circumvent long lines at airports and borders.

The lawsuit would be the latest escalation in tensions between President Trump and his former home state, after the Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday that it would block New York residents from participating in Trusted Traveler Programs, which includes Global Entry.

The decision was a response to a recent New York law that lets undocumented immigrants who live in the state obtain driver’s licenses. The statute, known as the green light law, also prohibits federal immigration officials from gaining access to Department of Motor Vehicles databases without a court order.

The Trump administration accused New York of interfering with federal law enforcement’s “efforts to keep our nation secure” by adopting the law. The administration has said it would lift the Trusted Traveler ban if New York granted them access to motor vehicle records.

The lawsuit will be brought by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, and will argue that the federal government’s actions were arbitrary and capricious, did not provide state residents equal protection and violated the state’s sovereign immunity, officials said.

“We’re going to disclose this political intrusion into government, this ham-handed political tactic, that once again hurts New Yorkers to make their political point,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, said at a news conference in Manhattan on Friday.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New York is one of more than a dozen states that have passed laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Proponents say that such laws make roads safer, provide more economic opportunity and reduce the fear of being deported for a driving violation.

Some states that have enacted the laws also have provisions to protect personal information from federal immigration officials, but federal authorities have said that none are as restrictive as New York’s.

The Department of Homeland Security’s decision immediately affects roughly 50,000 state residents who have applications pending for Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry, which expedites United States Customs and Border Protection screening for international air travelers when they enter the United States. Another 175,000 New Yorkers whose memberships expire this year are also at risk.

Residents would still be allowed to participate in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program.

Ms. James said in a statement that she would “fight the president’s shortsighted crusade against his former home.”

“This is political retribution, plain and simple,” Ms. James said. “And while the president may want to punish New York for standing up to his xenophobic policies, we will not back down.”

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