House Democrats, ready to begin investigating the Trump Administration anew after being thwarted in their efforts to remove the president from office, have demanded information on a Department of Homeland Security decision made late last week, ending the “trusted traveler” and “global entry” programs for New York residents.
Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MN) and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) are demanding documents from the White House outlining when and why the Trump Administration made the decision to “retaliate” against New York for its new, permissive drivers license program.
“We write today to express our opposition to the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discriminate against residents of the State of New York by barring them from enrolling or re-enrolling in four U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs,” the two lawmakers wrote in a letter issued to the White House late Saturday. “We are concerned that the Department’s policy change may be an improper attempt to use official DHS policy to punish the punish the people of New York because their state government has a political disagreement with the Trump Administration over immigration policy.”
“This senseless, retaliatory decision should be immediately reversed,” they demanded, listing a host of DHS documents they’d like to see.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the department’s new policy barring New Yorkers from using the Transportation Safety Administration’s “Trusted Traveler Program” (TTP) and “Global Entry” program last Wednesday, according to Fox News, linking the decision to New York’s new “Green Light law,” which allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license, potentially giving those same individuals access to TSA programs that allow them to bypass security screenings.
The Green Light Law also cuts off Customs and Border Patrol’s access to individual driving records so that CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement cannot use those records to initiate deportation proceedings. DHS relies on driving records in its TTP investigations; applicants who have a DUI or other serious traffic offense on their record are not approved for the program.
The Green Light Law “compromises CBP’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements,” Wolf said in his letter to New York’s state government outlining the new ban. “This Act and 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.”
DHS also served several subpoenas to the New York Department of Corrections last month, seeking information on whether the NYDOC is deliberately not cooperating with immigration officials, according to CNN.
New York announced late last week that they intend to sue the Trump Administration to have the ban lifted.
House Democrats have restarted a number of investigations into the Trump White House, suspended while the House Democratic caucus pursued an impeachment inquiry stemming from allegations that President Donald Trump traded foreign aid to the Ukraine for an investigation into whether former Vice President Joe Biden abused his power, turning Ukrainian investigators off of an oil and gas company, Burisma, that employed his son, Hunter.
If Democrats pursue this investigation, it would likely mark the first new inquiry following Trump’s Senate acquittal.