In February 2020, the Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security announced that New York residents would no longer be eligible to use Global Entry, or any other Trusted Traveler program designed to streamline entering the United States. The reason given was that New York restricted the immigration authorities’ access to state motor vehicle records when they passed a Green Light Law in December 2019.
As we wrote about back in February, New York wasn’t the only state with such a law, and up to 16 other states were in jeopardy of getting kicked out of the programs. That never happened to any other state and it turns out this fact became crucial to how this story ends.
Yesterday, we shared information that the Federal Government and New York State had come to an agreement allowing access to the motor vehicle records of those who apply for trusted-traveler status. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and Acting DHS Director Chad Wolf put out statements saying that all is well and New Yorkers can again use Global Entry and other border-crossing programs.
Missing from their statements was the actual reason for the sudden change. On the same day, federal lawyers from the U.S Attorney’s office in Manhattan filed papers saying that previous statements about the reasons for keeping New Yorkers out of the program were false. The filing says that the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection wasn’t telling the whole truth in their past statements.
..deeply regret the foregoing inaccurate or misleading statements and apologize to the court and (New York) for the need to make these corrections at this late stage
The main problem with the Federal Government’s argument was that only New York was kicked out of the program while several other states, Washington D.C. and some U.S. territories had similar restrictions and were allowed to stay. In other words, New York was being singled out and punished.
After admitting they were lying (or making inaccurate or misleading statements) to the court, New York resident’s access to Trusted Traveler Programs was immediately restored.
“The acting secretary of homeland security has decided to restore New York residents’ access to” what is officially known as the Trusted Traveler Program “effective immediately.”
It’s a shame that New York residents had their Trusted Traveler benefits removed for six months. Still, as it turned out, they wouldn’t have been able to travel internationally anyway during that time due to coronavirus. Now that they’re able to apply or renew for Global Entry, it might be quite a wait for an appointment because Global Entry centers are closed again until at least September.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary