As expected on Monday, New York officials filed a lawsuit to reverse the federal government's freeze on trusted traveler programs for residents who are registering or must renew.
Not so expected? The criticism by James P. Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, who knocked the measure that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, known as the Green Light Law.
At issue isn't the broad parameters and intent of the law, but the provision that restricts immigration enforcement officials from obtaining DMV records.
The provision was pointed to last year as a safeguard against the federal government obtaining records in order to find undocumented people living in New York — a concern that had been raised by Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly just before lawmakers voted for the measure.
Democratic Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, a Western New York lawmaker, called for a fix to the law.
“It is incumbent on all of us to find a solution to this problem," she said in a statement on Monday. "All options must be discussed, including repealing the Green Light Law or amending it to restore law enforcement access to DMV records."
Republicans, including state Sen. Robert Ortt, blamed Democrats.
"They ignored federal, state, and local officials’ concerns and passed a law that directly undermines federal law and jeopardizes homeland security," he said. "By passing New York’s Green Light law and shutting out federal authorities from the New York State DMV database, they simply prioritized illegal aliens over New York’s law-abiding taxpayers and now we’re facing the repercussions."
President Donald Trump's administration last week enacted the freeze, a move that affects people who have passed a background check in order to gain easier entry and exit through ports and border crossings. New applications have been frozen as have those who are seeking to re-register.
The announcement from the Department of Homeland Security came hours after the president was acquitted in his impeachment trial by the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand during a stop in Albany on Monday said the actions "look like political retaliation" for impeachment.
"I'm very concerned President Trump is engaged in political retaliation," she said, "and it would be illegal if that's what he's doing."