New York AG Letitia James sues Trump Administration over Trusted Traveler Programs


FILE – In this June 11, 2019, file photo, New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a news conference, in New York. New York state, New York City, Connecticut and Vermont have filed a new legal challenge to new Trump administration rules blocking green cards for many immigrants who use public assistance including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. James, a Democrat, says the change is a “clear violation” of American values and 100 years of case law. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration on Monday. The suit claims that the new federal policy that prohibits New Yorkers from enrolling or reenrolling in the federal government’s Trusted Traveler Programs puts residents at risk.

The suit is directly filed against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the two agencies’ acting-leaders. The Attorney General argues the policy change was made as a result of an arbitrary process after New York passed a law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.

“The Trump Administration’s new policy not only negatively impacts travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, but it jeopardizes public safety,” said James.

James claims that the new restrictions specifically defies the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 which calls on DHS to establish an international registered traveler program for use by all states and territories of the United States.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the changes would impact thousands of New Yorkers.

  • 50,000 individuals have been conditionally approved for Global Entry, but have not yet completed their interview and thus will be “cut off” from completing their applications.
  • 30,000 additional New York residents are currently pending the vetting process for Global Entry and will be prevented from moving forward with their applications.
  • Another 175,000 New Yorkers, whose Global Entry memberships expire this year, will not be permitted to re-enroll in the program.
  • Researchers estimate that reducing wait time at John F. Kennedy Airport alone could save millions of dollars in lost time.

James also says residents will see an impact at border crossings.

  • 30,000 drivers in the FAST program will lose access to the automated system.
  • Drivers in the NEXUS program — which, in Western New York alone, services 6,500 trips across the Peace Bridge, the Whirlpool Bridge, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and the Rainbow Bridge each day — would be severely handicapped.
  • 25% of auto traffic utilizing the Peace Bridge relies on the NEXUS program and 60-percent of truck drivers utilize the FAST program.
  • A car driven by a non-NEXUS driver typically takes four times longer to move across the Peace Bridge than a car driven by a NEXUS driver.

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