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Stefanik: NY earned federal consequence of Green Light Law

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is barring New Yorkers from participating in its “trusted traveler” programs in response to the recently passed Green Light Law, which lets undocumented immigrants be issued driver’s licenses, potentially safeguarding them from deportation.

Though this cutoff starts at end of 2020, tens of thousands of New York residents currently enrolling or reenrolling in programs like NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST or Global Entry — which speed up the reentry process for U.S. citizens returning to the country — will not be accepted. TSA Pre-Check was not included in the list.

This is the state leaders’ fault, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik said in a press release, saying she had predicted the Green Light Law would have consequences.

“After repeatedly ignoring law enforcement experts at the federal and local level, Governor Cuomo’s prioritization of illegal immigrants over law-abiding New Yorkers is continuing to have damaging effects,” Stefanik wrote in a press release. “In December of last year, I warned Governor Cuomo that this irresponsible policy would inhibit our CBP officers at the Northern Border from doing their jobs. Qualified, legal citizens should not be penalized by the governor’s unconscionable actions.”

Madison Anderson, a spokeswoman for Stefanik, said in an email that Stefanik believes New York should drop the Green Light Law from the books.

The law blocks federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection from accessing the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ driver license data, on which leaders in those agencies say they rely.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had a different take, blaming the federal Trump administration instead of the state government.

“Once again, the Trump administration is misusing the federal government for political retribution,” Gillibrand wrote in a press release. “There is no factual basis for this policy. Its true design is to punish New York for embracing diversity and inclusion.”

State Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, voted against the Green Light Law.

“The Green Light law that Assembly and Senate Democrats rammed through last year as part of their pro-illegal immigrant/anti-law and order agenda is another example of how their insistence on ignoring our law enforcement professionals and sanctuary policies are hurting law abiding New Yorkers,” Stec wrote in a press release from Stefanik.

It is unclear if and how the state will take action after the DHS announcement.

“This is obviously political retaliation by the federal government, and we’re going to review our legal options,” said Richard Azzopardi, senior adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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