New York State’s “Green Light” law is being blocked by the Trump administration in their efforts to sanction “sanctuary” cities and states. The “Green Light” law, approved in June 2019, grants undocumented immigrants the right to apply for a driver’s license, a crucial document needed to survive in today’s commuting world as well as ensuring safety on the roads. The Green Light law blocks access to the DMV’s database by ICE and CBP, requiring them to obtain court orders when requesting such information. The law reverses New York’s post-9/11 policy that restricted immigrants without legal status from obtaining a driver’s license. The acting commissioner of CBP, Mark Morgan, stated “… blocking federal law enforcement officers from accessing [information from the state] creates a significant threat to both officer and public safety.”
Today, the Trump administration retaliated by freezing programs designed to fast-track travelers through borders and lines at the airport such as Global Entry, NEXUS, Sentri, and FAST. In response, New York officials filed a lawsuit against the administration. This showcases the ongoing tension the administration has with New York State’s government. New York’s State general, Letitia James, supported the passing of the “Green Light” law stating it was constitutional and protected those applying for driver’s licenses. While states are not legally obligated to help enforce federal immigration laws, DHS’s targeting of a state government indicates an effort to penalize state and local authorities for not cooperating with federal interests.