ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Federal and state officials have yet to find a compromise to allow New Yorkers back into federal trusted travelers programs even as a Department of Homeland Security official said Thursday that the governor’s latest offer looks “promising.”
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said his agency is in talks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office on his proposal to allow federal immigration and border officials to access state Department of Motor Vehicles data without social security numbers.
Acting Secretary Wolf issued this statement:
“The Governor’s proposal to restore ICE and CBP access to DMV data while withholding social security numbers looks promising. We are in discussions with the Governor’s office regarding this proposal. We understand a number of New York sheriffs, county clerks, police chiefs, state lawmakers, members of congress, and many other officials who understand why we had to take these measures are urging the Governor to work with us on a solution. We believe this proposal could lead to a solution for New York.”
Communications Director Dani Lever issued this statement in response:
"We are hopeful that the Department of Homeland Security is fair and open minded. The Governor's positon is clear. New York will not share the DMV database with any law enforcement agency for immigration purposes but will allow access for applicants to the Trusted Traveler Program. We are also exploring eliminating any social security numbers from the DMV database and increasing penalties so there is no possibility of misuse."
New York argues Department of Homeland Security’s move is meant to punish the state for enacting a law that lets immigrants in the country illegally get driver’s licenses and bars federal immigration agents from state motor vehicle records.