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DHS bans New Yorkers from Global Entry and other programs over state law allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses

The law, which went into effect in December, allows undocumented immigrants to apply for New York driver’s licenses while protecting applicants’ information from immigration enforcement agencies.

“Today, we sent a letter to New York indicating, because they took these measures, that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs,” acting Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday.

New York state residents cannot “enroll or re-enroll” in the programs “because we no longer have access to make sure that they meet those program requirements, so we need to do our job,” Wolf added.

The letter states that the Green Light Law will impede Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “objective of protecting the people of New York from menacing threats to national security and public safety,” according to a copy obtained by Fox News and confirmed to CNN by a source familiar with the letter.

Since the law “prevents DHS from accessing New York DMV records in order to determine whether a (Trusted Traveler Program) applicant or re-applicant meets program eligibility requirements, New York residents will no longer be eligible to enroll or re-enroll in CBP’s Trusted Travel Programs,” the letter adds.

The letter lists four such programs that are managed by US Customs and Border Protection: Global Entry, which allows for faster clearance in customs for participants when they enter the US; NEXUS, which allows for quicker border crossing for qualified travelers between the US and Canada; Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), another program that allows for quicker clearance for qualified travelers when they arrive in the US; and the Free And Secure Trade (FAST) program, which allows for quicker clearance for commercial shipments crossing the US border from Canada or Mexico.

The letter does not mention the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program, in a seemingly targeted effort to punish New York for the law while limiting problems at airports for TSA.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, told CNN the state would review the directive from the Department of Homeland Security.

“This is obviously political retaliation by the federal government and we’re going to review our legal options,” Azzopardi said.

A federal law enforcement official told CNN that Customs and Border Proection in New York had not received an official directive from headquarters as of late Wednesday night. The official said the directive might come Thursday morning, and would likely be an order from the Department of Homeland Security sent to CBP headquarters before it is sent to CBP officials in New York.

The move comes following President Donald Trump’s comments on Tuesday during the State of the Union address lambasting cities that protect undocumented immigrants.

“Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal, illegal aliens,” he said. “In sanctuary cities local officials order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public, instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed.”

Former acting ICE Director John Sandweg told CNN that sanctuary policies do not affect how the Department of Homeland Security vets people for Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs.

“This is just irrational in the sense that sanctuary policies in no way shape or form affect DHS’ ability to vet people for global entry and other trusted traveler programs,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous, and it’s politicizing a program that’s not about politics. It’s trying to match two totally unrelated things. It’s just ridiculous,” he said, adding, “It’s the kind of thing that’s going to, frankly, politicize the department in a way that’s going to undermine its mission moving forward.”

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, Mark Morales and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.

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