New York Residents No Longer Allowed to Enroll in Trusted Traveler Programs, DHS Says

New York Residents No Longer Allowed to Enroll in Trusted Traveler Programs, DHS Says
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, speaks to the media in Miami on Jan. 29, 2020.
Zachary Stieber

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is no longer allowing residents of New York state to enroll in Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Feb. 5.

The move stems from New York state’s recently passed law that lets illegal immigrants apply for driver’s licenses without providing a Social Security number.

New Yorkers won’t be allowed to enroll or re-enroll in the Trusted Traveler Programs run by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including Global Entry.

“Today, we sent a letter to New York indicating, because they took these measures, that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs,” Wolf said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

New York residents can’t join or stay in the programs “because we no longer have access to make sure that they meet those program requirements, so we need to do our job,” Wolf added.

Global Entry enables faster clearance when people go through customs when arriving in the United States; NEXUS enables quicker border crossing for enrollees traveling between the United States and Canada; the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, or SENTRI, facilitates faster clearance for travelers when they enter the United States; and the Free and Secure Trade program, or FAST, helps commercial shipments crossing the U.S. border from Canada or Mexico get quicker clearance.

DHS sent a letter to New York state officials informing them of the change. The state’s new law that lets illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses precludes CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which are both part of DHS, from “accessing and validating pertinent information contained in New York DMV records that is operationally critical in DHS’s efforts to keep our nation secure,” Wolf wrote.
An ICE agent takes part in an operation in a file photograph. (ICE)
An ICE agent takes part in an operation in a file photograph. (ICE)

The state Department of Motor Vehicle records have been used by immigration officers to verify or corroborate suspects’ date of birth, height, and other personally identifiable information. The records are also used to help identify targets, witnesses, and victims.

CBP said in a statement on Feb. 6 that New Yorkers are no longer eligible for the trusted-traveler programs, “effective immediately.”

“Nothing is more important than the safety of the United States and our citizens, and the New York Green Light law makes us less safe and shields criminals,” CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a statement. “We recognize that many New York residents and businesses will be negatively affected by this change, but we cannot compromise the safety and security of our homeland. When states take negative measures that hinder our ability to protect our great country, we must respond.”

Wolf previously ordered a review on Dec. 31, 2019, of New York’s state law, known as the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, told news outlets in a statement that the state was going to review DHS’s action.

“This is obviously political retaliation by the federal government and we’re going to review our legal options,” Azzopardi said.

The move came after President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address on Feb. 4 criticized cities that use so-called sanctuary policies to shield illegal immigrants from law enforcement.

“Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal, illegal aliens,” he said. “In sanctuary cities, local officials order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public, instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed.”

While the Trump administration tried to block New York’s law in 2019, the lawsuit was dismissed.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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