The U.S. attorney's office admitted errors in a court filing on Thursday over the now-settled dispute between New York and the Trump administration over accessing trusted traveler programs.
The letter filed by Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss pointed to inaccuracy in the opposition arguments from the Department of Homeland Security in pushing back against New York's Green Light Law, a measure that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses in the state.
The department, through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, had argued the law “prevents DHS from accessing relevant information that only New York DMV maintains" and that New York " is the only state that has terminated CBP’s access to driver license and vehicle data."
Strauss in the letter to U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman acknowledged those were misstatements.
"Defendants deeply regret the foregoing inaccurate or misleading statements and apologize to the Court and plaintiffs for the need to make these corrections at this late stage in the litigation," Strauss wrote in the letter.
"Defendants respectfully request that the Court accept this letter to correct the record, and permit them to withdraw their motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, along with all briefs and declarations submitted in support of those motions. As noted above, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security has decided to restore New York residents’ access to the Trusted Traveler Programs, effective immediately."
New Yorkers will once again have access to appyling for trusted traveler and global entry programs that provide ease of access to border crossings after the federal government froze applications earlier this year, citing the Green Light Law.
Attorney General Letitia James had filed a legal challenge to the move in February, and Strauss's letter seeks summary judgment in the matter, which has become a legally moot one.
New Yorkers are still limited in their travel, however, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S.-Canadian border has been closed since the onset of the crisis in March.
“The Trump Administration backing down and restoring Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs to New Yorkers is a victory for travelers, workers, commerce, and our state’s economy," James said in a statement.
"This policy was political retribution, plain and simple, which is why we filed our lawsuit to stop the president from targeting and punishing New Yorkers in the first place. We will continue to defend New York’s right to pass its own laws and will fight to protect our state’s residents anytime they are bullied by the president because safety and fairness are not mutually exclusive under the law.”