“No one should ever use our national security as a political weapon, let alone the commander in chief,” James told reporters at her lower Manhattan office shortly after filing the suit.
“The president’s crusade against New York is not only an inconvenience to New Yorkers, but also poses a direct threat to one of the nation’s largest economies,” she said. “We will not allow the president of the United States to single out New Yorkers, to discriminate against New Yorkers, to target New Yorkers and to coerce us.”
The exclusion violates a federal law, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which required the establishment of a registered traveler program, the suit charges.
“Singling out one state for coercion and retribution as a means to compel conformity with preferred federal policies is unconstitutional,” the suit says. “Defendants’ ban on New Yorkers’ participation in the Trusted Traveler programs not only violates the law, but also injures New York by undermining public safety and causing extensive economic harm.”
Thirteen other states and Washington, D.C. issue drivers licenses regardless of immigration status, so New York argues that the state was singled out for political reasons.
Homeland Security argues that the ban on sharing DMV information stops them from gathering information needed to verify travelers’ eligibility. But the programs require passports, and New York officials argue that driving records aren’t relevant to clearing travelers.