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July 25, 2020

Thompson and Rice Announce Investigation After Administration Gave Inaccurate Testimony to Congress About Political Attack on New York

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee, announced they are commencing an investigation into revelations that Trump’s Department of Homeland Security made false statements regarding its decision to single out and ban New York residents from Trusted Travelers programs, including Global Entry. It was later revealed that other states had similar policies as New York.

Administration officials appear to have given inaccurate and misleading statements to Congress when they testified before the Committee on Homeland Security earlier this year.  On March 3, 2020, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told the Committee: “New York law specifically prohibits CBP from going into that DMV database…They’ve done that above and beyond any other state, there is no other state that prohibits that information….” Similarly, on February 6, 2020, Mr. John Wagner, then Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations, testified: “I am not aware of any other state blocking our access to that information.”

To commence an investigation, Chairs Thompson and Rice sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf requesting all documents and communications regarding the matter. They also requested transcribed interviews with several DHS and CBP officials. Chairs Thompson and Rice also sent a letter to Mr. Wagner requesting a transcribed interview.

“The decision to exclude New York from Trusted Traveler programs always appeared to be political retribution and now we know it was,” said Chairs Thompson and Rice. “It appears DHS officials made false statements to Congress – an intolerable turn of events for a Department charged with enforcing Federal law. Through our investigation, we will seek to understand why this happened and determine who is responsible.  We expect that DHS officials will cooperate fully, completely, and in a timely manner with the Committee’s investigation.”

Letter to Acting Secretary Wolf

Letter to Mr. Wagner

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Press Contact

(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Rice) Stuart Malec at 202-225-5516