What seemed like an eternity, but was just this past February we reported the the Federal Government was going to shut down the Global Entry Program for citizens from certain states (Travel Thursday: What Policies are Driving Feds to Shut Down Known Traveler Programs State-by-State?). We titled the piece “Travelers from New York State Booted from Global Entry Program. 15 More States to Follow?”
If you are just a domestic traveler, staying within the US and never have to cross an international border, you have no worries about what just happened to international travelers with New York City credentials, or do you?
Last week the Department of Homeland Security suspended all New York state residents from enrolling in memberships for trusted traveler programs like Global Entry.
Why is New York State getting picked on? Why are these federal government suspensions being handed down? The suspension happened shortly after the state enacted new legislation that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive a New York State driver’s license. Dubbed the “Green Light Law,” it also bans certain federal agencies from searching through NY’s records via the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), won’t be able to use state Green Light Law records to help them arrest and deport undocumented immigrants, and that is what it’s all about. But it is also that Customs and Border Protection cannot access the records and they are the department that runs Global Entry. That may be an important factor.
So, now 6 months later, the Trump administration has lifted the ban on New York state residents’ to enroll in these trusted traveler programs like Global Entry. Why would they now allow New Yorkers to take part in such programs? The reversal of the Feds not allowing Global Entry to New Yorkers is because the government said they were wrong *GASP* More specifically, the officials at the Department of Homeland Security admitted in a federal court filing that they were wrong do such a thing as the department’s justification for the halting of such programs was based on #fakenews, well they said false statements.
Some other things have happened, too, besides the government saying they messed up. In April, New York changed the hue of the “Green Light Law” to grant federal agencies access to the DMV records of individuals, but just for those who applied for these trusted traveler programs like Global Entry, T.S.A Pre-Check etc.
We are sure that the Feds and #45 feel NY State is a sanctuary state”, one that protects information and rights of undocumented immigrants. The NY State Attorney General Letitia James stated that was what this ban was all about and sued #45’s administration, citing that it was “political retribution” and the “result of an arbitrary process”, and now the government is saying, yep. That was it.
The filing said DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection “deeply regret the foregoing inaccurate or misleading statements and apologize to the court and (New York) for the need to make these corrections at this late stage.”
It further acknowledged that the false information had undermined its own argument that it “is not able to assure itself of an applicant’s low-risk status because New York fails to share relevant DMV information” and that as a result, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf “has decided to restore New York residents’ access to” the program, “effective immediately.” – NPR.
How many people did this whoops move affect? Under the ban, about 175,000 New Yorkers were withdrawn from programs and about 80,000 were immediately rejected under the federal bias. So if you want to use Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST, and other programs, your applications will now be received.
Yes, received, but when will they be dealt with? With COVID-19 lay-offs, delays, and well, are we Americans really traveling right now? Europe is blocking us and many Caribbean nations have closed their doors to us, too. Well, at least you’ll have something to fill out as you continue your quarantines and social distancing.