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‘Trusted Traveler’ Revocations Aside, ‘Green Light’ Bad Law

EDITORIAL

‘Trusted Traveler’

Revocations Aside,

‘Green Light’ Bad Law

The second hijacked smashes into the World Trade Center’s South Tower on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The 19 hijackers had 30 driver’s licenses from five states. Reforms that followed to increase inter-agency communications are threatened by New York State’s new “Green Light” Law, Acting Deputy Homeland Security Director Ken Cuccinelli says.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the 19 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon, or crashed in Schwenksville, Pa., had 30 driver’s licenses among them that allowed them to gain access to and hijack the four jets.

Nineteen licenses were from Florida, eight from Virginia, one each from Arizona and Maryland, plus two from California that were issued to two “watchlisted” participants.

None were from our state’s DMV, but if such a national catastrophe were to occur again, it could be different.

Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli referenced that last Thursday, Feb. 10, in answering reporters’ questions on his department’s decision to exclude New Yorkers from four “Trusted Traveler” programs after the passage of the state’s “Green Light” Law, which prohibits state law enforcement agencies from sharing routine DMV data with immigration agencies.

The programs give pre-approved travelers and trucking companies no-wait entry in to the U.S. The decision means 80,000
New Yorkers who have applied for the status won’t be approved, and 175,000 already approved will lose their status as their five-year passes expire.

“It was embarrassing to us in Virginia, that (many) of the 9/11 terrorists used Virginia driver’s licenses to help accomplish their evil mission, and we set about to fix that, and we did fix that,” said Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli fielded reporters’ questions on removing New Yorkers from “Trusted Traveler” eligibility.

New York is “one of the other targets of 9/11 that is walking backwards, quite intentionally, … to bar the sharing of law-enforce-
ment-relevant information like vehicle registration, matching driver’s licenses to identifications, and critically, criminal records that are kept up to date and DMV databases.”

As stated here before, the “Green Light” legislation, granting a legal document to people who are in the U.S. illegally, is illogical on its face, evident to the 62 percent of New Yorkers who opposed it in a Siena Poll.

Plus, the Democratic majority folded it into the vote on the state budget, avoiding public hearings and on-the-floor discussion where the benefits and deficits would have become clear.

The law forced county clerks who run DMV offices, like Otsego’s Kathy Sinnot Gardner, to disobey either state law or federal law, contrary to their oath of office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States AND the Constitution of the State of New York.” (Emphasis added.)

Since DMV applications are automatically forwarded to the state Board of Elections, where they are processed routinely, the “Green Light” at least gives an amber to voter fraud.

The law in place, the DMV and state Division of Criminal Justice Service then ordered local police to sign a “pledge” not to share any related information with federal agencies; obdurate police would be denied access to DMV records, essential to ensure someone stopped for speeding isn’t wanted for shooting a cop downstate.

County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., called that “blackmail,” reported Joe Mahoney, Albany correspondent for Plattsburgh’s, Niagara Falls’ and other Upstate papers, who broke the story statewide. “I signed the agreement with displeasure because it would really affect our officers here if we were not to have access to this data,” Devlin told Mahoney.

All this just isn’t right.

Supporters of the “Green Light” Law argue that because of the vast number of illegal immigrants in New York State – in 2014 there were 4.4 million in New York State, an estimated 22 percent of the population – this is a necessary safety measure, ensuring they pass the driver’s test and have insurance.

Still, to anyone who watched the World Trade Center towers collapse, visited the chilling 911 Memorial & Museum in New York City’s financial district, or listened to Cuccinelli the other afternoon, the justification rings hollow. Should every law be repealed if it’s flouted? Should any?

The answer to illegal immigration is much larger than the “Green Light” Law, requiring well-regulated borders and likely a humane path to citizenship for otherwise law-abiding immigrants. (A massive expulsion would be a human rights disaster.) But that’s a separate discussion.

Democrats have characterized Homeland Security’s decision as a reprisal by the Trump Administration: In his State of the Nation speech the night before it came down, the president singled out California and New York State as states where “sanctuary” communities are putting the law-abiding general public at risk.

But with Monday the 10th’s announcement of action against the state of New Jersey and the county that includes Seattle, Wash., it appears to be part of a larger push-back against the whole concept of “sanctuaries” – one that’s long overdue.

In New York State, according to the Center for Immigrant Studies, the cities of New York City and Ithaca, and five counties, are sanctuaries. However, that doesn’t include Cooperstown, where a Village Board resolution from 2017 declares village police won’t cooperate with ICE investigations that may occur locally; now, it may make sense for the trustees to withdraw that ill-considered resolution.

Whether reprisal or prudent governance, the right course is clear: The “Green Light” Law should be repealed on the merits. That the state’s economy will now suffer and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers face travel delays are an added impetus for the state Legislature to do the right thing.

Instead of rethinking where we are and returning to a more sensible course, state Attorney General Letitia James, also on Monday, filed suit accusing the Trump Administration of using “our nation’s security as a political weapon.” Rather, is New York State simply risking our nation’s security to ride an ideological hobby horse?

As for the governor, he said “more than a dozen states – including red states – (have) similar laws.” He knows better. While other states grant licenses to undocumented immigrants, they didn’t include the most objectionable provision: barring cooperation with federal agencies. Washington State is considering that clause, but now may change its mind.

Contrary, it seems, to county clerks and sheriffs, the governor and attorney general are entitled to their own opinions. Neither is up for reelection in November, but the state Legislature is: 62 percent of voters should hold their representatives accountable on this issue. Turn off the “Green Light.”

‘Green Light’ Law Endangering U.S.

HOMELAND SECURITY SAYS:

‘Green Light’ Law

Endangering U.S.

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.

GOP Lawmakers Rally Over Flaws In Justice Reform

GOP Lawmakers

Rally Over Flaws

In Justice Reform

Prosecutors, Sheriffs Join Chorus

Of Woes Emerging In Past 37 Days

The Democratic state Legislature’s justice reforms are “empowering repeat offenders,” state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, tells a rally this morning in the lobby of the Otsego County Jail.  With him are, from left, state Senate candidate Peter Oberacker, Schenevus; Assemblymen Chris Tague, Schoharie, and John Salka, Brookfield; Sheriffs Todd Hood, Madison County, Richard J. Devlin, Jr., who hosted today’s event, and Ray Stevens, Schoharie County; Assemblyman Robert Smullen, Montgomery County; Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl, Assemblyman Brian Miller, New Hartford, and Madison County Chief Assistant District Attorney Robert Mascari.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Senator Seward, left, Assemblyman Tague, right, and state Senate candidate Peter Oberacker confer before the start of today’s rally.

MIDDLEFIELD – It was a day for reporting nightmares.

Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner reported his officers apprehended a possible shoplifter, but were unable to hold the suspect under New York State’s criminal justice reforms. “Even before we are done” with the paperwork, the store owners called again.  “The shoplifter was back in their business,” the chief said.

All police agencies need informers to crack drug cases, said Schoharie County Sheriff Roy Brown.  Now, under new discovery provisions, “your informants will be disclosed before suspects can come to trial.”  Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, said an informer on the MS-13 Puerto Rican gang was identified through disclosures required under the state reforms, and was killed.

New Yorkers Can’t Be ‘Trusted Travelers’ Due To ‘Green Light’ Law

CLICK TO READ FULL ABC REPORT

New Yorkers Can’t Be

‘Trusted Travelers’ Due

To ‘Green Light’ Law

Ban Complicates Crossing Borders For Many
Cuccinelli

WASHINGTON – New York residents will be cut off from “trusted traveler” programs that enable people to quickly return from outside the country because of the state’s new “Green Light” law that prevents immigration officials from accessing motor-vehicle records, ABC News and other outlets are reporting today.

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers whose applications for the programs are pending or will have to renew their enrollment by the end of the year will have to undergo customs and passport checks as they enter the country as a result of the action, said Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Law, Precedent Prohibit Giving Driver’s Licenses To People Here Illegally

‘GREEN LIGHT’ POSITION PAPER

Law, Precedent Prohibit

Giving Driver’s Licenses

To People Here Illegally

Editor’s Note: Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner developed this position paper on the state’s new “Green Light” law before asking President Trump to intervene and ensure it doesn’t require New York State’s county clerks to violate their oath of office.

By CRAIG HAYNER • Saratoga County Clerk

The ability of states to regulate who drives on their roadways dates back to the Model T with the 1916 Supreme Court decision regarding Frank J. Kane v the State of New Jersey, which found the state within its right to issue registration fees.

States were further supported in regulating who drives in 1999 when the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, in the case of Donald S. Miller v the California Department of Motor Vehicles, ruled that there is no “fundamental right to drive.”  And again on June 7, 2007, when New York’s highest court upheld the state DMV’s right to require Social Security numbers (SSN) from driver-license applicants or a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration, in the case Cubas v Martinez.

By statute, the NYS DMV has required driver-license applicants to supply their Social Security numbers since 1995. DMV also accepts a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration (SSA) along with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documentation from anyone ineligible for a SSN.

 

As stated in the Cubas v Martinez decision, the policy was not the result of a post-September 11 panic over immigration; the internal document adopting the policy is dated Sept. 6, 2001. This anti-fraud policy was validated in 2002 with the DMV’s Social Security verification program uncovering massive amounts of fraud, according to testimony by then-DMV Commissioner Martinez to the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee on Aug. 19, 2004.

The current legislation, now signed into law (A3675B & S1747B), known as the “Green Light Bill,” disregards history and case law, attempting to rewrite the law in the interest of a few at the expense of many:

  • Provides the Option to Refuse to Provide a Social Security Number: The law provides the option for Standard License applicants to refuse to provide a Social Security Number (SSN), allowing criminals to exploit the system. This reverses the State DMV’s law enforcement arm’s nearly two decades of work in uncovering and preventing fraud discovered using Social Security Verification.
  • Requires a Visually Identical Design: The law requires that licenses issued to those here illegally be “visually identical” to a federal-purpose license. This appears to be a deliberate attempt to deceive and a violation of the federal REAL ID Act, which requires non-compliant cards to have a unique design or color indicator. While the bill states the Commissioner may adopt additional regulations to comply with federal law, the use of “may”, rather than “shall”, provides the commissioner the option of non-compliance with federal law.
  • Changes Automatic Registration to Selective Service System to Opt-In: The law changes the provision that directs the DMV to provide information to the Selective Service System (SSS) of young men who are required to be registered with Selective Service from an automatic registration to an optional registration. According to federal law, with very few exceptions, all males between ages 18 and 25 must register with the SSS. This includes U.S. born and naturalized citizens, parolees, undocumented immigrants, legal permanent residents, asylum seekers, refugees, and all males with visas expired more than 30 days. These changes not only create unnecessary red tape for DMV employees, but also make it easier for people to thwart their lawful duty to register with Selective Service.
  • Requires Notification to Anyone whose Records are Sought – The law requires the DMV Commissioner to notify within in three days any person whose records are sought from “any agency that primarily enforces immigration law,” informing the individual about the request and identifying the agency requesting the records. The bill also requires such agency or representative to obtain a warrant or court order to access any DMV records. This is a deliberate effort to impede federal immigration investigations and allow those under investigation to obstruct justice. 
  • Provides the Option of Implementation before it becomes Law: The law back dates to Jan. 1, 2019, the proofs of identity required to be accepted to include a variety of foreign documents. It also provides for the state to amend or repeal any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act before it actually becomes law. These provisions provide the unprecedented ability for the State to implement policy before it becomes law and offers no time for training for DMV clerks who will be forced to accept documentation they cannot translate or authenticate. Further, in the midst of REAL ID implementation, which is creating a great influx of customers, longer transaction times, and frustrated customers in DMV offices throughout the state, this bill would haphazardly thrust even more responsibilities and a greater customer demand on our overworked DMV clerks without providing them the respect or resources to ensure they properly implement the law.
  • Provides an Opportunity for Voter Fraud: Newly installed Customer Facing Devices in all NYS and County DMV offices prompt customers to register to vote during any type of license or ID transaction, regardless of the customer’s citizenship status or age. The customer must answer yes or no before their transaction can be completed. The State DMV has been aware of this computer issue, but to date has yet to address it, passing the issue along to the Board of Elections to determine eligibility after they receive a list from the DMV of anyone who pressed yes.
  • Compromises the Oath of Office: The new state law to provide driver licenses to those in this country illegally circumvents federal law, unjustly putting County Clerks and DMV employees in the compromising position of violating their oath of office, which is to support and defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York.
  • Forces DMV employees and County Clerks to be Immigration Authorities: The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the unconditional and absolute power to regulate immigration. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1876 that immigration regulation was an exclusive federal responsibility. This law shifts that authority to the State of NYS DMV and forces DMV employees to become experts on identifying a multitude of foreign documents from around the world, placing the sole responsibility on DMV clerks to ensure people are who they claim to be and to ferret out fraudulent documents. DMV employees would have to do this in addition to the hundreds of motor vehicle transactions the offices process daily.
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