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Mudslinging Between Cuomo And Trump Needs To Stop Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says President Donald Trump’s decision to remove New York state from the Global Entry, Trusted Travel Program is political retribution for the state’s Green Light Law that gives illegal immigrants driver’s licenses.

Federal officials say the Green Light Law’s denial of access to DMV records deprives border officials the information they need to secure the border, protect officers and verify information submitted on Trusted Traveler Program applications. We note, too, 16 states have given driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants without blocking DMV database access to federal immigration officials. New York is the only state to take that political step.

The dispute would be easier to navigate if Cuomo and Trump weren’t always engaged in politics. It would be easier to navigate if Cuomo and state Attorney General Letitia James weren’t suing President Trump and the federal government every time the wind blows. The dispute would be easier to navigate if President Trump didn’t try to tie the border crossing dispute to dismissal of previous lawsuits. In short, the dispute over border entry would be more easily resolved if Gov. Cuomo and President Trump could speak and negotiate like the heads of state they purport themsleves to be. Right now, they’re simply throwing mud at each other like 4-year-olds who can’t share a new toy.

It needs to stop.

Cuomo and Trump need to follow the example of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-South Buffalo, who is calling for a compromise between Cuomo and Trump to protect the interests of Western New Yorkers. In a Feb. 6 letter to Mark Morgan, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, Higgins laid blame on both sides while calling on the federal agency to work with state officials to find a way to use exceptions spelled out in state law to provide customs officers with the access they need while restoring regsitrations in the NEXUS, Global Entry and FAST programs to keep border crossings flowing smoothly.

Higgins’ efforts might have a more resounding impact if they are joined by Rep. Tom Reed and other Republicans in Congress. Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature should be lobbying Cuomo as well.

This border dispute doesn’t just effect Buffalo. Cross-border business is important for Chautauqua County too, particularly in the summer months, while we know border crossing is important for business interests in border regions throughout the state. The state could also wind up losing out on billions of dollars in security-based aid from the federal government from programs created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Why would the federal government work provide security money to a state that is throwing roadblocks in its way?

We’re not sure President Trump and Gov. Cuomo have the ability to behave rationally toward each other. Movement on this issue needs to come from Congress and the state Legislature. Politicians talk all the time about the importance of bipartisanship and representing the interests of their constituents. Now is the time for that rhetoric to become action.

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