In a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Feb., 10, the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police expressed its support for the administration’s actions to pushback against a controversial “Green Light Law” issued by the city.

New York is one of more than a dozen states that has passed laws allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. But it is the only state that included a provision restricting federal immigration agencies’ access to Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records without a court order. It was that aspect that led the administration to suspend enrollment in Global Entry and similar programs for New York residents.

The letter, signed by President Patrick Phelan, thanked Wolf for notifying leaders of the recent actions taken by the DHS in response to the new law, which it described as “regrettable law.”

“Our members fully recognize that sharing pertinent law enforcement information and vital resources across local, state, and federal boundaries is critical to ensuring the safety of the communities we serve,” the letter said.

“It is our hope that reasonableness will prevail by all involved and that an appropriate resolution can be attained,” it added. “What’s ultimately required is an operational and administrative process that prioritizes public safety for all New Yorkers and serves as its fundamental cornerstone.”

The support from the New York police chiefs came amid escalating tension between the administration and Democrats who oppose the move. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called the action “unbounded arrogance, disrespect of the rule of law, hyper-political government,” and “another form of extortion.”

House Democrats last week wrote to DHS demanding documents related to the decision and bashing it as “senseless, retaliatory” move.

“We write today to express our opposition to the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to discriminate against residents of the state of New York by barring them from enrolling or re-enrolling in four U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs,” Democratic House leaders wrote in the letter. “This senseless, retaliatory decisions should be immediately reversed.”

But Wolf has fiercely defended the decision, arguing that the new law “compromises CBP’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements.”

Wolf dismissed the idea that the decision had to do with the granting of licenses to illegal aliens, and instead pointed to the law’s prohibition on information sharing.

“This has nothing to do with illegal aliens receiving drivers licenses. NY is the ONLY state to shut off CBP access to DMV records used for law enforcement purposes in our homeland security mission. Without access, CBP cannot vet Trusted Traveler applicants. It’s that simple,” he said.

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