New York, Feb 8 (IANS) The state of New York is set to file a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s plan to block residents from participating in certain “trusted traveller programmes (TTPs)” due to a state law that prevents immigration officials from accessing motor vehicle records.
The lawsuit “will argue that the DHS has violated New York’s sovereign immunity, not provided our residents with equal protection and is acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner that denies the rights and privileges of all New Yorkers”, Xinhua news agency quoted a statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office as saying on Friday.
At a news conference in Manhattan, Cuomo, a Democrat, called the proposed block “an abuse of power” which is hurting New Yorkers to advance their political agenda.
Last December, a new law in New York state, dubbed “Green Light”, took effect, allowing unauthorized immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.
It also prevents the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles officials from handing over information to federal authorities.
In response to the law, the DHS said on Wednesday that New Yorkers will no longer be able to enroll in or renew membership of its TTPs, including Global Entry, which allows people returning from abroad to skip passport check lines.
The DHS said in a letter to New York state that the “Green Light” law prevents federal agencies from protecting residents from “menacing threats to national security and public safety”.
New York is not the only state that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s licence, but it’s the only one that bans the sharing of motor vehicle records with federal immigration agents, according to DHS officials.