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Trump Placed Travel Restrictions On New Yorkers — Are They Legal?

President Donald Trump has an ongoing feud with New York City. The biggest sign of the feud was when he changed his primary residence from NYC to Florida! Although that might just be because he really needs to win Florida to win another term in 2020, and there’s no chance in the realm of men that he can win New York. Recently, though, Trump called for travel restrictions to be placed on New Yorkers because of the city’s status as a “sanctuary city” for immigrants.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James was quick to file a lawsuit in response to the perhaps unconstitutional travel restrictions. 

The restriction was put into place by the Department of Homeland Security, which announced that residents would not be allowed to enroll (or renew enrollment) in the Global Entry program that speeds up waiting time in customs lines during international travel. The proposed reason for the restriction? A New York law provides a path for undocumented immigrants to get a drivers license. It also says that DMV can’t share that information with authorities who, say, might target undocumented immigrants for deportation.

James said, “No one should ever use our national security as a political weapon, let alone the commander in chief.”

“The president’s crusade against New York is not only an inconvenience to New Yorkers,” she continued, “but also poses a direct threat to one of the nation’s largest economies. 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 federally mandated Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 forced certain jurisdictions to create registered traveler programs, one of which is the Global Entry program. By removing the ability of New York residents to enroll in the mandated program, Trump may be violating federal law, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit reads, “Singling out one state for coercion and retribution as a means to compel conformity with preferred federal policies is unconstitutional. 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.”

The lawsuit is not inaccurate in its portrayal of the administration’s decision to single out New York. At least 13 states allow undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive drivers licenses. So does Washington D.C.

James said, “It has nothing to do with safety. It’s nothing more than political retribution.”