Trump’s Retaliation Tour Targets NY Travelers in Recent Immigration Policy

The message is now loud and clear: anyone who fails to obey Trump will be swiftly punished.

Days after Donald Trump was acquitted in his Senate impeachment trial, after reports surfaced he would go after those who testified against him, National Security Council Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was escorted from the White House.

That same day, Trump fired US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Now municipalities that refuse to turn immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are targets.

New York recently enacted a “sanctuary” law limiting DHS’s access to state drivers’ license records.

It also banned ICE from arresting immigrants inside courthouses without federal judicial warrants or orders.

So the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the division that oversees ICE, has decided to retaliate by preventing New York residents from enrolling in programs to expedite international travel.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf stated in a letter to New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles that, because of the “Green Light Law” Gov. Cuomo signed in June, exempting the state from submitting identification information to ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), residents will be prohibited from enrolling in DHS’s Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST travel security expedition programs.

Wolf told CNN:

“If they want to allow CBP to have full access as they have been, again for almost two decades then we can certainly look at restoring access to those Trusted Traveler Programs and continue to process applicants.”

On Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced intentions to sue the Trump administration, stating the new policy “will negatively impact travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy,” and the state will “fight the president’s shortsighted crusade against his former home. We will not allow New Yorkers to be targeted or bullied by an authoritarian thug.”

House Oversight and Homeland Security committees chairs blasted Wolf, demanding he immediately reverse “this senseless, retaliatory decision,” and turn over DHS documents about its process, including White House communications.

House leaders and New York Democratic House members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Carolyn Maloney, and Yvette Clark, who sit on their committees, wrote:

“We are concerned that the Department’s policy change may be an improper attempt to use official DHS policy to punish the people of New York because their state government has a political disagreement with the Trump Administration over immigration policy.”

But that’s not all DHS has been up to in its Orwellian pursuit of “illegals.”

ICE and CBP have purchased commercial databases with cellphone location tracking capabilities to detect undocumented workers and others illegally entering the country.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that user location data purchases from Virginia-based tech company Venntel Inc. began in 2017–the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.

ICE bought $190,000 worth of Venntel licenses the following year.

The war on immigrants rolls on in Trumpistan.

Image credit:

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.