"I say it is political extortion."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday slammed acting Department of Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf and his acting deputy, Ken Cuccinelli...
"They violated their oath of office."
... calling their decision to block New Yorkers from using the agency's Trusted Traveler Program political retribution, after the Trump administration admitted to making false statements in a lawsuit over the ban.
"You can't use the Department of Homeland Security as a political tool. It doesn't work that way. And it's not just not right and unethical and immoral. It's illegal."
In February, the Trump administration cut off New York residents from using a program that allows international travelers to move faster through the airport, after the state passed the so-called Green Light law, which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses and limits federal access to that information.
But on Thursday, DHS suddenly announced it would lift the ban and, just hours later, the federal government admitted it had made "inaccurate and misleading claims" in a lawsuit brought by New York state challenging the ban.
"They got caught. It was all politics, all the time. It was all exploitation, all the time. And they hurt this state because of it."
Cuomo also said the ban may have even contributed to New York's coronavirus spike in early spring.
"During that period of time when it was coming from Europe, and you didn't even know, now you've backed up the airports because you were playing political games with this Trusted Traveler program."
Cuomo called on Attorney General William Barr to investigate.
"Can you allow this blatant, egregious misconduct to go un-investigated?"
And called for a congressional probe.
"It's only one in a barrage of political abuses that we've endured by this federal government. But it's emblematic. And it has to stop."
DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.