New York Caves On Green Light Law, Will Cooperate With Federal Law Enforcement On DMV Records

New York Caves On Green Light Law, Will Cooperate With Federal Law Enforcement On DMV Records

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would lift its ban on the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) for residents of New York.

In February, DHS cut off the TTP program for New York in response to the state passing the Green Light Law, which prohibits sharing information, particularly regarding immigration status, with federal law enforcement. The law allows anyone in New York, including illegal aliens, to apply for a driver’s license.

In turn, New York caved, and amended the law to allow sharing DMV records “as necessary for an individual seeking acceptance into a trusted traveler program, or to facilitate vehicle imports and/or exports.”

However, according to DHS’s press release, the state “continues to restrict sharing DMV information with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for other enforcement efforts.  The State further recently created new criminal penalties for individuals or entities, including law enforcement officials, who share such information with CBP and ICE.  DHS is currently working with the Department of Justice to determine appropriate legal actions to address these problems.”

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stated, “We appreciate the information sharing to CBP for the trusted travel program, which enables DHS to move forward and begin once again processing New York residents under the Trusted Travel Program.  Nonetheless, local New York law continues to maintain provisions that undermine the security of the American people and purport to criminalize information sharing between law enforcement entities. The Green Light Law ultimately undermines the efforts of law enforcement officers, criminalizing their mission to secure the nation and the American people from threats and furthering the risk to their own lives.  When jurisdictions like New York fail to cooperate with federal authorities, they operate more like refuges from criminal behavior, not sanctuary havens.”

According to the press release, this development is extremely important because “[B]locking federal law enforcement officers from accessing DMV records creates a significant threat to both public safety and officer safety.  The data provided by state officials is vital to identify foreign terrorist connections and build criminal cases and identify criminal suspects including gang members, sex offenders, drug smugglers and others.

“The clear lesson from the horrific attacks on September 11—leading Congress to create DHS to protect against future such attacks—was that information sharing is vital to our security.  DHS was created to make it possible to share information between local, state and federal law enforcement and work together to secure the Homeland and protect our communities and the American people.”

This is a great development to restoring law and order when our nation needs it more than any time in recent memory. Let’s hope this trend continues in the right direction.

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