WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has temporarily barred New Yorkers from several programs that allow faster security checks when they enter the United States, widening a dispute over a New York state law limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Thursday that the action, which took effect on Wednesday, would bar both new passes and renewals and would not apply to Transportation Security Administration pre-checks.
Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told reporters the state’s lack of security cooperation with federal immigration authorities necessitated the suspension of such travel programs as one known as Global Entry.
He assailed the state over a law passed last year limiting the information the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, which issues driver’s licenses, could share with federal immigration authorities.
U.S. President Donald Trump has made his immigration crackdown a focus of his 2020 re-election campaign. Trump criticized so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions during his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s senior adviser, Rich Azzopardi, said it was “obviously political retaliation” and that the governor’s office was studying its legal options.
The suspension also will apply to programs that allow for expedited travel between the United States, Canada and Mexico, including a program for commercial truck drivers.
The DHS estimated that the suspension could affect between 150,000 to 200,000 New York residents who attempt to renew membership in the travel programs if the ban remains in place through the end of the fiscal year, which runs to Sept. 30.
New York State shares a 445-mile border with Canada and exported $16.8 billion in goods to the country in 2018, according to U.S. government data.
The Trump administration continues to weigh similar actions against other states that adopt “sanctuary” laws, Cuccinelli said on Thursday.
Reporting by Ted Hesson; Editing by Howard Goller and Alistair Bell