BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The president of Buffalo-Niagara's chamber of commerce is imploring the Department of Homeland Security's Acting Secretary to end the suspension of Trusted Traveler Programs for New York residents "until a more reasonable solution can be reached."
"Every day that this suspension continues does real financial and societal harm," Dottie Gallagher, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, wrote in a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.
The letter, co-signed by the presidents of the chambers of commerce in Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario, was written on February 21st.
Gallagher has been vocal about the negative impact that the suspension of Trusted Traveler Programs will have on cross-border trade.
"40 percent of trucks crossing the Peace Bridge rely on the FAST program and 25 percent of cars use NEXUS, with that percentage growing during the tourism season," Gallagher wrote in her letter to Wolf.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and the GNCC urge the DHS to suspend its decision to remove New York State from the Trusted Traveler Program until a more reasonable solution can be reached. @BNPartnership @hamiltonchamber pic.twitter.com/b75LSk5gDs— The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (@the_GNCC) February 24, 2020
The FAST Program expedites truck shipments through the border. But now that New Yorkers are unable to apply or re-apply for trusted traveler programs, truck companies fear wait times at the border could get worse.
Wolf and local members of immigration enforcement have said they are unable to safely screen applicants of Trusted Traveler Programs in New York because of the state's new Green Light Law. The law prohibits federal authorities from accessing DMV records.
The suspension has triggered a political tug-of-war between Governor Cuomo and President Trump. The pair have met to discuss the issue, however there are no indications that a resolution is in sight.