New Yorkers get in line. Literally. Most of you will soon lose the privilege of whisking through immigration with Global Entry.
The trusted traveler program, which allows you to bypass the traditional immigration and customs lines at 75 major airports, now precludes residents of the Empire State from applying or reenrolling in this international self-check-in process. The reason behind this sweeping change: recently passed state legislation, known as the “Green Light Law” or the “Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act,” which restricts DHS departments like U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from accessing individuals’ criminal history without a court order.
In other states, CBP and ICE can run license checks to obtain criminal history maintained by the individual state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). With this new legislation, intended to allow undocumented immigrants in New York to apply for a license, enforcement agencies cannot gather criminal information from the New York DMV. Without access to this information, CBP says that it “cannot properly complete security checks for Trusted Traveler Program applications and renewals submitted by New York residents, greatly increasing our security risk.”
In a recent statement, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said, “Nothing is more important than the safety of the United States and our citizens, and the New York Green Light law makes us less safe and shields criminals. We recognize that many New York residents and businesses will be negatively affected by this change, but we cannot compromise the safety and security of our homeland. When states take negative measures that hinder our ability to protect our great country, we must respond.”
We are not sure if there will be a long-term resolution to get New Yorkers back in trusted traveler programs—we hope there is—but here’s what the new legislation means now. New Yorkers can still apply for TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR but can no longer apply for Global Entry (as well as programs NEXUS [US-Canada Pre-Clearance], SENTRI [international pre-clearance by road to/from Mexico], and FAST [international pre-clearance by road for commercial vehicles]). Applications will be denied. All pending applications for these four programs (and applications not already approved by January 31, 2020) will be cancelled and refunds will be sent automatically. New Yorkers who currently have Global Entry can use it at all 75 airports with Global Entry (60 of which are in the United States and US territories, and 15 of which are in airports abroad where clearance into the United States takes place pre-flight) until it expires but cannot extend or reapply for the program. New York airports will continue to have Global Entry kiosks, which can be used by anyone who has current, valid Global Entry access (residents from other states and New Yorkers until their access expires). New York airports will also still continue to operate Enrollment on Arrival centers for non–New York residents.
Considering New Yorkers are definitely not ones to take things quietly, it will be interesting to see how this controversial Global Entry ban plays out. We’ll keep you posted!