HOMELAND SECURITY SAYS:
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Acting Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf’s Feb. 5 letter notifying the state DMV that New York licensees are no longer eligible to participate in the department’s “Trusted Traveler” program. This excerpt accompanied the editorial, “‘Trusted Traveler’ Revocations Or Not, ‘Green Light’ Bad Law.”
New York State’s “Green Light” Act prevents DHS from accessing relevant information that only New York DMV maintains, including some aspects of an individual’s criminal history. As such, the Act compromises U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s (CBP) ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements. Moreover, the Act delays a used vehicle owner’s ability to obtain CBP authorization for exporting their vehicle.
Furthermore, on a daily basis, ICE has used New York DMV data in its efforts to combat transnational gangs, narcotics smuggling, human smuggling and trafficking, trafficking of weapons and other contraband, child exploitation, exportation of sensitive technology,
fraud, and identity theft.
In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids. In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission…
…New York DMV records have long been used by ICE law enforcement personnel to verify or corroborate an investigatory target’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which can include their residential address, date of birth, height, weight, eye color, hair color, facial photograph, license plate, and vehicle registration information. Moreover, ICE’s expeditious retrieval of vehicle and driver’s license and identification information has helped identify targets, witnesses, victims, and assets.
ICE has used DMV records to obtain search warrants, and DMV records are also critical for ICE to identify criminal networks, create new leads for investigation, and compile photographic line-ups. Additionally, during the execution of search and arrest warrants,
ICE officers have used DMV information to identify individuals whose criminal history renders them a threat.
The Act prohibits the sharing of vehicle registration information, including the identity of the person to whom the vehicle is registered, with DHS. That prohibition prevents ICE from running license plate searches, even when ICE is aware that
the vehicle’ s owner has committed a heinous crime. In short, this Act will impede ICE’ s objective.