World News

New York governor signals possible compromise with Trump in immigration spat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated on Wednesday that he will make concessions to Republican President Donald Trump in a dispute over the state’s pro-immigrant “sanctuary” policies.

FILE PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo takes part in a regional cannabis and vaping summit in New York City, New York, U.S., October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Cuomo, a Democrat, is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) Thursday, the White House said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland (DHS) announced a policy last week that would bar hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from federal programs that help travellers speed through airport security lines and borders.

The action was in response to New York’s Green Light law passed last June allowing illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses and limiting federal immigration authorities from accessing records from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle.

Speaking on a New York radio program on Wednesday, Cuomo signalled he would allow federal immigration authorities to have limited access to a Department of Motor Vehicles database.

Specifically, Cuomo said he would grant access to DMV records of residents who use “trusted traveller” programs that allow faster security checks at airports and other ports of entry.

“These are people who go for an in-person federal interview with all sorts of background information,” Cuomo told radio host Jay Oliver.

The U.S. Department of Homeland announced last week that it would bar New Yorkers from obtaining both new passes and renewals of Global Entry and three programs that permit faster travel between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Trump has made immigration a central theme of his 2020 campaign as he seeks re-election in November. During his annual State of the Union address last week, he blasted “sanctuary” jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, saying they allow “dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public.”

Cuomo had condemned Trump’s action as “extortion” and an abuse of power aimed at bullying a traditionally Democratic-leaning state. New York filed a lawsuit over the suspension of the travel programs on Monday, saying it would undermine public safety and cut the state’s economy.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters on Wednesday that he hoped Trump and Cuomo could reach “some type of solution” that maintains U.S. security.

Reporting by Ted Hesson and Alexandra Alper; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler