The next day, his acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced on Fox News that New Yorkers, specifically, would no longer be able to apply for or renew their membership in certain verified traveler programs
— the ones that people pay the government for to speed their way through airport security lines.
The reason, Wolf said on Fox News, was that New York’s so-called Green Light law — which makes the undocumented eligible for drivers licenses and also shields some DMV data from the federal government — created a security risk. Without the data, he wrote in a warning letter to New York officials, DHS would be unable to process applications for Global Entry and other preferred traveler programs.
Interestingly, DHS did not include the largest such program, TSA Pre-Check, in the warning letter.
This is either a serious coincidence or the beginning of a new election year push to further split the country over the issue of immigration. It’s also his latest broadside against Democratic-leaning states and territories, which he routinely dismisses or targets with punitive policies.
Trump’s politics have always had a tit-for-tat feel to them. Just a few examples:
- He’s got a grudge against Puerto Rico for criticism he faced after his response to Hurricane Maria in 2017. Funds for long-term construction there have been held up. This week the White House threatened to veto a spending bill over aid to Puerto Rico.
- His proposal for more oil drilling in US coastal waters initially exempted the state where he owns a beachfront private club. It’s since been iced by courts.
- He’s got a grudge against California, where the state government opposes him on a number of policy issues. He pulled nearly $1 billion in funding already allocated for high speed rail programs there.
- The state set its own fuel emissions levels for automobiles, so his administration moved to revoke their ability to do so, even though it was written into the law.
- His tax law penalized mostly blue states with higher state taxes by limiting what state and local taxes could be deducted from federal tax returns.
- Most obviously, he held up aid to Ukraine in part because he buys into the conspiracy theory that the country opposed him in 2016.
Trump has long sought to penalize areas of the country that have defied his efforts to crack down on undocumented immigration. His Justice Department has tried to cut off federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, an effort currently under review by the courts
With his grim and debatable picture of runaway crime rates and homicidal immigrants terrorizing the public, Trump sought at his State of the Union address to divide the country
in two: there is the America following his lead on immigration and there is the other America providing sanctuary to the undocumented.
“Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens,” he said, after rattling off statistics about immigrants with criminal records detained this year by ICE.
While data suggests that, in fact, immigrants are not any more likely to commit crimes than other groups
, Trump has long pushed the idea that undocumented immigrants pose a dangerous threat to the country and his point Tuesday was that sanctuary cities are making the country as a whole more dangerous.
The Trump administration has long sought to target cities and states, like New York and California, that object to his efforts to crack down on the undocumented.
As CNN’s Catherine Shoichet reported earlier this year
, the West Coast is supportive of these laws and the South is not.