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"It's Illegal" - NY to sue federal government in Trump immigration dispute

Cuomo Lake Ontario 2019.JPG
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his state will file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's plan to block New Yorkers from enrolling in "trusted traveler" programs.(WHAM photo)

ALABNY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his state will file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's plan to block New Yorkers from enrolling in "trusted traveler" programs.

"We're going to sue the federal government. We believe this was arbitrary and capricious. We believe it's illegal. We believe it's politically motivated." said Governor Cuomo.

The lawsuit announced Friday is the latest salvo in an escalating fight over immigration policy between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in his home state.

RELATED: Homeland Security suspends travel programs for New Yorkers

Federal officials say they took the step of blocking New Yorkers because of a new state law barring immigrant agents from getting access to state motor vehicle records.

The law allows New York residents to apply for driver's licenses without having to prove they are in the U.S. legally.

Governor Cuomo argues that the Trump Administration's ban is politically motivated, and a direct retaliation for New York's Green Light Law, which was signed by the Governor last June.

MORE: Illegal crossings plunge as US extends policy across border

The Green Light Law allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses in New York, and prevented federal immigration agencies from accessing this Department of Motor Vehicle data.

According to the Governor, thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have Green Light Laws, but New York is the only state that has been targeted by this administration for retaliation.

"We're going to sue the federal government; we're going to disclose this political intrusion into government, this ham-handed political tactic that once again hurts New Yorkers to make their political point." said the Governor.

RELATED: Rensselaer County officials announce lawsuit challenging Green Light Law

Meanwhile, republicans in New York believe differently on Trump's actions.

"While New York vies to be the most liberal, it failed to listen to ICE’s plea for access too. ICE has used the DMV database to apprehend criminals including gang members, drug traffickers, child predators, and fentanyl and opioid smugglers." said Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan. "The Senate Republican Conference did not support the Green Light bill, and we warned of these issues. Democrats did not listen."

The lawsuit will be brought by New York Attorney General Tish James, who has a history of defending challenges to New York's Green Light Law.

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