New York state residents blocked from global trusted traveler programs

Global-Entry-Kiosks

Almost 200,000 New York state residents per year will not be allowed to renew their Global Entry passes, as the Trump administration moved in response to a recent decision by the state lawmakers to restrict federal access to state data and allow undocumented immigrants to be issued licenses, writes Bloomberg.

New York residents are no longer allowed to take part in Trusted Traveler programs for fast access and processing at borders, such as Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri and Fast, which use biometrics to identify previously vetted and approved travelers. The suspension does not include domestic travel under TSA’s PreCheck program.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf warns that, effective immediately, state residents will not be allowed to sign up or renew enrollment in the programs, though residents already enrolled in the Global Entry program are allowed to use their passes until they expire.

This is because possession of a New York driver’s license no longer proves residency or citizenship status, and federal agencies cannot use the state database to find such proof, under the recently-passed “Green Light Law.” According to Wolf, this law endangers the Customs and Border Patrol agency’s capacity “to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements.”

Following the decision, high traffic is expected at the U.S. – Canada border, where it is common for residents to commute between the two countries. Furthermore, Homeland Security announced used vehicle exports to Canada will suffer delays because electronic records will no longer be accepted.

“These are the unfortunate consequences of New York’s Green Light Law,” acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said.

New York’s Green Light Law, also known as Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, became effective in December, allowing undocumented immigrants without Social Security Numbers to obtain valid driver’s licenses.

“New York’s ‘Green Light Law’ is ill-conceived and the Department is forced to take this action to ensure the integrity of our Trusted Traveler Programs,” Wolf said in a statement. “It’s very clear: this irresponsible action has consequences.”

In response, Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said the measure is “obviously political retaliation by the federal government and we’re going to review our legal options.”

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