More local officials press for reversal of federal action on cross-border travel

Feb 9, 2020

State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, is weighing in on a controversial Trump administration action late last week that bans New Yorkers from participating in federal Trusted Travelers programs. He released a statement Saturday, arguing the ban has nothing to do with national security but is simply political retribution against New York for its progressive policies

Ryan also lashed out against Republican Congressman Tom Reed who Governor Cuomo blamed for suggesting the ban. Reed said he did no such thing. The Southern Tier Republican said he simply warned of the consequences that could result from the state's passage of the Green Light Law, which grants drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

"It does not address national security because we all know that anyone who qualifies for TTP gets screened extensively and approved by the feds," Ryan said. "Congressman Reed should apologize for this mess he has created and work with our state to restore a common-sense travel and trade policy."

But the Green Light Law also prohibits the federal government from accessing state DMV data, which Homeland Security officials say is the primary reason why they're no longer accepting applications from New Yorkers for NEXUS and other Trusted Travelers programs.

Saturday evening, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown released a letter he sent to the US Department of Homeland Security. In it, he asks the federal government to rescind its action.

"Many City of Buffalo residents who rely on accessible border crossings for their livelihoods use NEXUS to commute to work on a daily basis," Brown said.

The suspension includes New York-based truck drivers who enroll in the FAST program.

"In the City of Buffalo, we have worked very hard and invested heavily to achieve increased manufacturing production, and the harmful effects on local companies that use the border to export products via truck delivery will be disastrous," Brown said.

The Mayor suggested the suspension will end up costing the federal government more money because customs officers at the border crossings will have to spend more staff time screening individual travelers.

Plus, the federal government will lose the $50 fee it charges for each NEXUS card it issues.