Governor Must Prioritize Citizens' Needs Over Illegal Immigrants

When the governor signed legislation allowing illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, I wasn’t shy about my opposition to the measure. Providing a privilege to those knowingly breaking the law wasn’t something most New Yorkers could support. County clerks expressed grave concerns about the impact the measure could have on the integrity of our elections. Law enforcement officials were deeply troubled that the law would prevent federal law enforcement agencies like ICE and Customs and Border Protection from accessing important records and information from the New York State DMV.

Now, the federal government has taken action. New Yorkers are now barred from applying for Trusted Traveler Programs like TSA Global Entry that allow for expedited entry into the country. The 50,000 New Yorkers whose applications were being processed will no longer be considered, and no current enrollees in the program will be able to renew their privileges.

The governor is, reportedly, in the process of trying to make a deal with the President. Whether he will be able to remains to be seen, and won’t negate the inconvenience he’s already caused law-abiding citizens.

The governor and his allies are trying to spin this as a political attack on New York state. It’s not. There’s nothing political about coordination and collaboration between law enforcement agencies. In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, Patrick Phelan, President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of police, said:

“Our members fully recognize that sharing pertinent law enforcement information and vital resources across local, state and federal boundaries is critical to ensuring the safety of the communities we serve.”

What is political is the governor putting privileges for illegal immigrants before the needs of law-abiding taxpayers in New York State.  

Unfortunately, it’s a pattern. Although our Medicaid program is running billions of dollars over budget, the governor insists that it cover illegal immigrants. Although New Yorkers who played by the rules currently hold over $80 billion in student loan debt, the governor still supports free college tuition for those here illegally.

My message is simple. We need to put law-abiding taxpayers first. Handouts for illegal immigrants might be good politics for the governor, but it’s bad policy for the rest of us. It needs to stop. 

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