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NY AG Calls Trump ‘Authoritarian Thug,’ Promises Lawsuit Over Suspension of Global Entry


Well that didn’t take long. New York State Attorney General Letitia James just entered the fray over Donald Trump’s decision to disallow New Yorkers to enroll or re-enroll in Trusted Traveler Programs (TTPs), such as Global Entry. James announced on Friday that the Empire State will sue the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and she had some pretty strong words for the president.

“This is political retribution, plain and simple, and while the president may want to punish New York for standing up to his xenophobic policies, we will not back down,” said James. “We plan to take legal action and sue the Trump Administration for its unfair targeting of New York State residents. This new policy will negatively impact travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, so we will fight the president’s shortsighted crusade against his former home. We will not allow New  Yorkers to be targeted or bullied by an authoritarian thug.”

This follows President Trump’s direction of the DHS to deny New Yorkers expedited travel privileges. The move appeared to be part of President Trump’s State of the Union promise to counteract the actions of liberal states that “release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public.” New York’s new “Green Light Law” allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses is relevant here.

New York’s law, the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles from providing most driver’s license information to DHS.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf wrote a letter to New York declaring the start of the new policy:

Although DHS would prefer to continue our long-standing cooperation with New York on a variety of these critical homeland security initiatives, 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.

The administration singled out New York for exclusion from TTPs, even though 13 other states and D.C. have similar “Green Light laws.”

Friday’s announcement isn’t the first time James and Trump have gone head to head, and it almost certainly won’t be the last.

[Image via  MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos