NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo railed against the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine plan Monday, accusing the feds of trying to collect data on undocumented immigrants.
Cuomo said he and other governors received a request from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to provide the feds with “ID numbers” for all COVID-19 patients once a vaccine is approved and distribution begins.
Such personal data can be retrieved from passports, driver’s licenses or Social Security cards, posing a problem for immigrants without legal status, Cuomo warned.
“Why would you possibly need a person’s driver’s license number or Social Security number or passport number before they receive a vaccine? Why? There is no legitimate health reason,” the governor said during a call with reporters.
Cuomo said he would not comply with the request.
Instead, he said he will write a letter to President Donald Trump and senior Homeland Security officials asking why the administration’s asking for the unusual data.
“I’m not going to give information that can be used to deport people,” the governor said.
He then railed against the Department of Homeland Security and acting chief Chad Wolf, again calling the Trump acolyte a “thug.”
Cuomo previously castigated Wolf after DHS removed New York from the Trusted Traveler program in February after the Empire State enacted the “Green Light Law,” granting undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for driver’s licenses.
New Yorkers were allowed to reenter the federal expedited border crossing program this summer after Wolf admitted in a court filing that he falsely said the state was the only one keeping federal authorities from accessing motor vehicle records when 15 other states have similar laws on the books.
“I have been down this road before,” Cuomo said. “This is an administration that has — from day one with the wall — been relentless in their pursuit of undocumented people.
“This is just another example of them trying to extort the state of New York to get information that they can use at DHS and ICE to deport people,” he added.
Cuomo, the chair of the National Governor’s Association, cautioned other state leaders to disregard the request as well, especially his fellow Democrats.
“Any Democrat governor who agrees to give them the information either doesn’t understand what they’re doing or is not really a Democrat,” he said.
HHS and DHS representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while a White House spokesman declined to weigh in on the matter.
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