The Department of Homeland Security Has Stopped New Yorkers from Getting or Renewing Global Entry, according to a letter sent to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The letter focuses on New York's Driver's License Access and Privacy Act (dubbed the Green Light Law), enacted June 17, 2019 and effective as of December 16, 2019, which restored the right to obtain a driver's license, regardless of immigration status, that existed in New York State prior to 2001, but also prevents U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from accessing New York State DMV data; the only exception is a court order, subpoena or judicial warrant.
DHS claims that “having access to New York DMV information has enabled CBP to validate that an individual applying for Trusted Traveler Programs membership qualifies for low-risk status…The Act [the Green Light Law] compromises CBP's ability to confirm whether an individual applying for TTP membership meets program eligibility requirements…”
Meanwhile, John Sandwig, former ICE Director under Obama, has commented that the DHS claim is “politicizing a program that's not about politics…this is just irrational in the sense that sanctuary policies in no way, shape or form affect DHS's ability to vet people for Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo notes that as part of Global Entry and the Trusted Traveler programs, DHS independently verifies applicants' identity and citizenship, including with an in-person interview, and DMV data isn't needed. He's also pointed out that the FBI does have access to New York's DMV database, and that DHS could access it that way, via the FBI.
It is, however, true that of the 13 states that have Green Light laws similar to New York's, only New York has stopped sharing DMV data with ICE. New York will sue the federal government over the Global Entry ban on constitutional grounds, arguing that DHS has violated New Yorkers' equal protection rights.
The upshot is:
- No Further Global Entry/TTP Status Granted: New York residents who are in the process of applying for Global Entry or other Trusted Traveler Programs (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST) and haven't been approved yet will NOT be approved.
- No Renewals: New York residents who currently have Global Entry or TTP status but need to renew will be unable to
Fortunately I just recently renewed my own Global Entry status, but this means that my husband, who was planning to renew his Global Entry sometime in the coming year, will be unable to.
Any other New Yorkers affected by this moratorium on new and renewal Global Entry and TTP applications?
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits