New York officials on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government's move to freeze New Yorkers from participating in trusted traveler programs.
The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Letitia James, comes less than a week after President Trump's administration backed the freeze amid a dispute over immigration enforcement officials accessing DMV records.
"We will not compromise our values nor back down when the federal government continues to unfairly and illegally target New York," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "There are more than a dozen states - including red states - with similar laws, but President Trump and his enablers are once again taking their aim at New York's economy in a way that not only inconveniences travelers, but also creates very real security issues. Make no mistake we are fighting back and will be using every tool available to us to do so."
The freeze affects programs that allow people who pass background tests easier access through ports of entry, including Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS, and FAST.
DMV records cannot be accessed by federal enforcement agencies like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, a provision of a new state law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.
Cuomo has matained the state makes records available to the FBI.
Meannwhile, U.S. Attorney J.P. Kennedy in Buffalo knocked the driver's license law, calling it a public safety issue.
"This isn't about politics either. It's really not about politics," he said. "It's about public safety and it's about national security and that's what I'm concerned about."
In Albany, western New York lawmakers, along with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, urged the federal government to change its mind.
Brown, at the Capitol for a local government budget hearing, said the freeze will have a detrimental affect on the region's economy, given its proximity to Canada.
"We do not want this to damage the economy of Buffalo, Erie County and western New York and right now this proposal would be devastating to the economy of our community," Brown said.