President Donald Trump demanded New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) drop all of New York state’s lawsuits against him prior to a meeting between the two on Thursday to discuss the suspension of travel programs that would benefit immigrants, along with other New Yorkers.
“He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics,” Trump said a week after the Department of Homeland Security announced it was suspending New York residents from participating in Trusted Traveler Programs such as Global Entry that make it easier to return to the U.S. from foreign trips. The move was in response to New York passing the “Green Light Law,” which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.
Trump implied that the suspension could be lifted with a quid pro quo.
“New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harassment, start cleaning itself up, and lower taxes,” he tweeted.
Before the afternoon meeting at the White House, Cuomo said he planned to tell Trump that he would allow federal authorities access to the DMV database for those applying for the TTP. Cuomo said the access would be granted on a case-by-case basis, where the state would give federal authorities information on only those who have already “given all sorts of background information,” CNN reported.
“DHS claimed they wanted this information to determine qualifications for the TTP, but it is a sham because they just want access to undocumented immigrants’ personal information, and as the governor said, we are never going to give them that,” Dani Lever, Cuomo’s communications director, told CNN.
In a statement after their meeting, Cuomo’s team disclosed few details but said the governor reiterated “our willingness to allow federal officials access to DMV records only for individuals applying to the Trusted Travel Program.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James said the state will sue the administration over the decision to suspend the travel programs. James also reminded the president that it is she ― not the governor ― who files the lawsuits.
As of last fall, Trump was juggling 30 different investigations by various congressional, executive branch and state officials related to his business, campaign, inauguration and presidency dealings, The New York Times reported. Eight of those are New York state investigations into Trump’s family tax schemes, potential underpaid taxes, misuse of charitable assets and the role of Trump’s children in his businesses, among other matters.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet that Trump “is publicly admitting that he is holding Global Entry for New Yorkers hostage in exchange for dropping lawsuits against him and his family’s lawbreaking behavior.”
“This is corrupt, illegal, and authoritarian,” she added.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the Green Light Law gives access to TTP. It only allows for undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.