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Cuomo Agrees to Give Feds Limited Access to New York DMV Records, but Will Still Try to Prevent Immigration Enforcement

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in New York City, N.Y, October 17, 2019. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday that he has partially revised the state’s decision to block the federal government from accessing its motor vehicle records, after the Trump administration responded by announcing that New Yorkers would be barred from federal fast-travel programs.

Cuomo, in an interview with a Long Island radio station, said that he had spoken with the Department of Homeland Security after acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf’s announcement that New York’s new law granting illegal immigrants driver’s licenses and blocking the federal government from accessing DMV records would prevent New Yorkers from applying for Global Entry programs, which ensure expedited cross-border travel.

“The corresponding lack of security cooperation from the New York DMV requires DHS to take immediate action to ensure DHS’s efforts to protect the Homeland are not compromised,” Wolf announced.

“You want access to our DMV database for trusted traveler? You can have it,” Cuomo said he told top DHS officials in response to the announcement.

The governor claimed he stopped short of offering the administration “unfettered access” and said he would still resist efforts to use the registry for immigration enforcement. He added that he planned to meet with President Trump on Thursday to discuss the situation.

“It’s pure politics, and that’s what I’m going to say to the president tomorrow,” Cuomo said.

New York’s “Green Light” law, which took effect in December, allows illegal immigrants to receive state driver’s licenses and, to ensure that they are not discouraged from applying for licenses, also blocks DHS from accessing the state’s DMV records. Twelve other states and the District of Columbia also have passed laws allowing illegal immigrants to obtain licenses, but New York was unique in blocking DHS from accessing its DMV records.

Cuomo’s comments come after attorney general William Barr announced that the Trump administration would be conducting a “significant escalation” to its efforts against sanctuary cities for “unconstitutionally interfering” with federal immigration enforcement.

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