New Yorkers eligible for DHS biometric travel programs again after Green Light law data sharing amended

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After initially banning New York residents from biometric processing under the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) in February, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has now revoked the decision.

Initiated by the Democratic-led state legislature, the Green Light law allowed illegal immigrants to use their foreign documentation as identification when applying for a driver’s license at the DMV. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have revised the Green Light law to prevent immigration data sharing with federal offices. The law has been rectified to allow data sharing of DMV records “as necessary for an individual seeking acceptance into a trusted traveler program, or to facilitate vehicle imports and/or exports.”

Americans registered to Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri and Fast can use biometrics for expedited border processing.

Other information will still not be shared with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Individuals or entities found to be sharing the information can be subject to criminal penalties.

DHS argues in the announcement that withholding information from federal law enforcement could jeopardize national security and safety, as sharing the information could help detect terrorist connections and organized crime suspects.

“We appreciate the information sharing to CBP for the trusted travel program, which enables DHS to move forward and begin once again processing New York residents under the Trusted Travel Program.  Nonetheless, local New York law continues to maintain provisions that undermine the security of the American people and purport to criminalize information sharing between law enforcement entities,” said DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf in a prepared statement.

Wolf also accused New York state of undermining law enforcement efforts with the Green Light Law.

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