Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will immediately suspend enrollment in Trusted Traveler Programs (TTPs) including Global Entry for all New York residents. In his interview on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News on Wednesday, February 5th, Wolf stated that this decision is being made in direct response to New York's sanctuary “Green Light Law” and the Driver's License and Access Privacy Act.
The Green Light Law allows undocumented immigrants and any other New York resident to get a driver's license. The Privacy Act, which went into effect in 2017, prohibits New York DMVs from sharing information with ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). The CBP can no longer access DMV records in order to verify a Trusted Traveler Program applicant.
In a letter to top New York state officials obtained by Fox News, Chad Wolf outlines the manner in which this act prevents Homeland Security and the CPB from performing its essential national security duties in the state. It appears that the suspension will only affect new Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri, and FAST enrollments and renewals. TSA PreCheck does not appear to currently be impacted by this suspension.
Here is what New York travelers need to know.
How Trusted Traveler Programs Work
The Trusted Traveler Programs, which includes Global Entry, allow U.S. Citizens expedited entry through customs and border protection when re-entering the U.S.
Since the government shutdown early last year, Global Entry has had a serious backlog of applications. Travelers have reported having to wait up to six months for conditional approval and then even longer to get an interview scheduled.
Conditional Approval for all of these programs is contingent on a strict background check. Upon applying for any of the programs you must provide information including employment history, address history, and your international travels all going five years back. Applicants must also provide proof of residence and documentation including a passport (for Global Entry) and a valid driver's license.
It is this last requirement of a driver's license that the DHS states can no longer verify in the state of New York.
While TSA PreCheck also requires a background check and ID verification, it was not included in the list of suspended programs.
Who the Suspension Will Affect
This suspension will impact all New York residents that wish to apply for or re-enroll in any of the TTP programs. This means if you currently have Global Entry and live in New York you are ineligible to renew your membership to the program for the foreseeable future.
This will not affect New Yorkers that currently have Global Entry. Current or future TSA PreCheck enrollments are also not currently affected by this suspension.
When the Suspension will Take Effect
There is currently nothing referencing the suspension of the Trusted Traveler Programs for New York Residents on the Department of Homeland Security website. However, the letter sent to officials states that this suspension will happen immediately.
Top New York officials representing Governor Cuomo have stated that they will review their legal options to stop the suspension from going into effect. It remains to be seen if they have any official recourse to this announcement from the DHS.
With this announcement, future international travel just became more difficult for New Yorkers. This suspension of enrollment in TTP programs like Global Entry will affect thousands of travelers.