Newspapers from around the country reported earlier this month that, as per a decree from the White House, New York residents who wanted to apply or renew for Global Entry (as well as other trusted traveler programs such as Nexus and SENTRI) would be denied.
This came about after the state enacted new legislation, informally called the “Green Light Law,” that gave undocumented immigrants the ability to obtain a NY state driver’s license, while also preventing federal agencies (including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is responsible for arresting and deporting immigrants, and Customs and Border Protection [CBP], which runs the Global Entry program) access to DMV databases access unless they had a court order.
The current government regime is, of course, saying it’s an issue of national security, but others suggest it’s extortion and political retribution for New York standing up to the current administration’s xenophobia.
Whatever the case, it appears that New York might be just the first of several states with citizens that may not be able to apply for or renew their Global Entry status.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), over 16 states, along with Washington D.C., currently have rules on the books that allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license.
Of those, California and New Jersey have upcoming laws (7/21 and 1/1/21, respectively) that will soon prevent federal agencies access to databases that include personal information of undocumented immigrants. Virginia has a law waiting for state senate and governor approval that has similar verbiage; if passed, it will go into effect January 2021. Kansas and Massachusetts have similar bills currently in committee, and since 2018, Washington state has disallowed federal agencies to perform facial recognition scans of the state’s DMV database.
Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the DHS deputy secretary said in a conference call with reporters that citizens of states considering passing legislation similar to NY’s would also be barred from Global Entry, “and other programs,” should those state laws go into effect.
“…and other programs.” Like TSA PreCheck?
As per Cuccinelli, right now, TSA PreCheck isn’t part of the suspension, but (paraphrased) “that doesn’t mean DHS won’t revoke it down the line.”
Well, isn’t that special?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary