Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Wednesday that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry, because of DHS’ disagreement over a new “Green Light Law” that New York adopted late last year.
According to Wolf, New York state residents will no longer be able to enroll or re-enroll in Trusted Traveler programs—Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST—starting this week because of the state’s Green Light Law, which was signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June and went into effect in December, that makes it easier for undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers licenses in the state.
"Today, we sent a letter to New York indicating, because they took these measures, that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs," Wolf told Fox News on Wednesday.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has yet to receive a directive of the ban from DHS as of late Wednesday night.
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes called out the DHS for "politicizing travel" in a statement.
"Travel should not be politicized. Trusted traveler programs enhance our national security because they provide greater certainty regarding a person's identity, citizenship, and criminal background. Suspending enrollment in Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs only undermines travel security and efficiency. We are in contact with the Department of Homeland Security to convey this message."
The ban by the DHS will be legally reviewed by Governor’s Cuomo office, according to a statement from the Governor’s office to CNN.
Zane Kerby, President and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), issued a statement in response to the announcement.
“We strongly oppose this measure on behalf of the 8,700 New Yorkers who work at travel agencies in the state, their clients and partners," said Kerby. "The Administration could have used a scalpel here, but chose a sledgehammer instead. Penalizing every New Yorker enrolled or who plans to enroll in valuable trusted traveler programs like Global Entry over a dispute between the federal and state government is wrong. Now more than ever, the government should be looking for ways to facilitate travel, not hinder it."
“Those in the Global Entry program have already produced a valid passport (proving citizenship in the U.S. or other participating countries), have submitted fingerprints, and passed a background check in order to qualify. Denying them the ability to renew because the New York DMV isn’t sharing information with the Department of Homeland Security regarding undocumented immigrants makes no sense.”
“We call on the Administration to reverse this decision and call on our New York members to contact their elected officials. We will be giving our members the tools to do so in the coming days,” said Kerby.