Modified: February 12, 2020 4:00pm
It’s been a busy month at the Legislature as we have discussed and debated many issues both at the county and state levels. Most recently, my colleagues in the Minority Caucus and I sponsored a resolution strengthening our opposition to the Green Light law. This is in response to the federal government’s announcement that trusted traveler programs, such as NEXUS, will be suspended due to border safety concerns under the new law. It is just one more example of how we unfairly suffer the consequences of Governor Cuomo’s flawed policies and misguided agenda.
The Green Light Law went into effect in December, 2019 and allows illegal immigrants to obtain valid state driver’s licenses. Because of this dangerous and irresponsible legislation, federal law enforcement agencies are no longer allowed to access DMV records. This has led to national security concerns and the federal government’s decision to bar New York residents from enrolling in programs such as NEXUS, Global Entry, and FAST. These trusted traveler programs are risk-based programs to facilitate the entry of pre-approved travelers. Current members of the programs will not be able to renew their memberships upon expiration and no new applicants will be accepted. Simply put, it is shameful that Governor Cuomo continues to prioritize the rights of undocumented immigrants over law-abiding citizens. New York State took away the tools the Department of Homeland Security uses to protect our national security on the United States/Canadian border, and the federal government had no choice but to act. Law enforcement and law abiding citizens deserve better from our leadership in Albany.
In addition to safety concerns, our resolution notes that this will hurt cross-border travel and negatively impact our local economy. According to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, New York exports $19 billion in goods and services to Canada, with trade between New York and Canada valued at $30 billion. In 2018, nearly 12 million cars and trucks crossed the United States/Canadian border in Western New York. We stand to lose billions of dollars if this is not reversed. Governor Cuomo and the state legislature must work quickly to fix this mess, and the Green Light law should be repealed immediately.
In addition to representing you in the Legislature, I have enjoyed spending lots of time in the community and meeting with many outstanding organizations in recent weeks. It has been a pleasure to meet so many new faces and learn more about issues important to the people I represent. If you would like to schedule a meeting or get an event on my calendar, please feel free to contact me. You can also reach out to my office if you have questions, comments, or concerns regarding a county-related issue. Contact us at Frank.Todaro@erie.gov or by phone at 716-681-2071. I look forward to hearing from you!