Solution Needed On Traveler Program
The U.S Representative for New York’s 23rd Congressional District has talked to President Donald Trump about the Department of Homeland Security blocking the Trusted Traveler Program in New York state.
On Tuesday, Tom Reed, R-Corning, discussed how he’s had conversations with the president; leaders on both sides of the political aisle in the state; Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz; and the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about its decision to block New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler Programs following the Green Light Law going into effect in December.
DHS’s decision is a response to a state law allowing any person over the age of 16 to apply for a driver’s license regardless of U.S. citizenship status. Part of that law also prohibited the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles from giving records to federal immigration agents.
On Thursday, DHS officials announced it would no longer allow New Yorkers to enroll in the Trusted Traveler Program, which is a certain federal programs that makes it easier for people traveling internationally to get through border security.
“It’s no secret I have great concern over the Green Light Law,” he said.
Reed did say that New York isn’t the only state, 15 states altogether, that has adopted a law allowing illegal immigrants to apply for a driver’s license. However, he said New York went further than all other states by banning the sharing of motor vehicle records information with immigration agents.
“We’re the only state in the union … restricting information to border agents,” he said.
Reed said he will continue working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find a solution. He said Gov. Andrew Cuomo is using the Green Light Law to “play politics,” by embracing a far-left “extreme” point of view that is putting people’s lives at risk.
“This is about doing what is right to protect Americans,” Reed said.
In other business, Reed also discussed the House of Representatives approving the US. Postal Service Fairness Act last week. He said the bipartisan bill was able to be fast-tracked to the floor of the House for a vote because the legislation had 290 co-sponsors. Last year, the Problem Solvers Caucus, of which Reed is co-chair, sponsored a new law that allows a bill to circumvent the Speaker of the House’s office to be voted on if there are 290 co-sponsors.
The goal of the U.S. Postal Service Fairness Act — which still has to be approved in the U.S. Senate — is to ease fiscal pressure on the postal service by removing a requirement Congress imposed more than a decade ago forcing the agency to prefund retiree health-care costs.
The legislative reform doesn’t erase the agency’s long-term obligations to its retired employees, but it allows the costs to be funded on a “pay-as-you-go” basis instead of by making regular significant contributions to a separate fund.
“It was an undue burden that needed to be alleviated,” Reed said.