ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he hopes he can persuade President Donald Trump to reverse a decision to boot New Yorkers from programs that allow travelers to avoid long lines at U.S. at the border.
The Democratic governor and Republican president plan to meet Thursday to discuss their dispute over New York's new “Green Light” law, which lets unauthorized immigrants obtain state driver's licenses and also bars federal immigration agents from accessing state motor vehicle records.
The Trump administration said that cutoff from state records threatened public safety, and responded by blocking New Yorkers from enrolling in Global Entry and other “trusted traveler” programs. New York then sued over its expulsion.
In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Trump said Cuomo “must understand that National Security far exceeds politics."
“New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!” Trump said, tacking on a insult referring to Cuomo's brother, the CNN host Chris Cuomo.
Cuomo says he's willing to restore federal access to driving records on a limited basis.
But in a midday news conference, he pledged not to let federal immigration agents see lists of people who had applied for a new type of license that doesn't require applicants to prove they are in the U.S. legally.
“If they think they're going to extort New York into giving them a database of undocumented people, they're wrong. I will never do that," Cuomo said.
Cuomo in television appearances said he would only propose giving federal officials access to the state driving records of applicants to traveler programs, who already must submit to an in-person interview and a background check.
“There is no undocumented person who's going for an in-person interview before the federal government,” Cuomo said on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”
Department of Homeland Security Secretary officials say New York’s decision to cut off federal access to driving records was part of a pattern of the state hindering the work of immigration and border enforcement agents. They said the lack of access to driving records would make it harder to catch fugitives or to quickly confirm someone’s identity.