The Department of Homeland Security’s announcement earlier this month that it is suspending enrollment and re-enrollment in the Global Entry program is the latest salvo from an administration that has made our state a political target.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sued to stop DHS’s actions almost immediately.
Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs offer expedited access through airport security lines and border crossings. DHS’s decision immediately impacts about 80,000 New York residents whose applications were pending when the ban went into effect and another 175,000 whose memberships will expire this year but will be barred from attempting to re-enroll.
DHS says it suspended Trusted Travel Programs because New York recently passed the Green Light Law, which allows anyone who qualifies and passes their driving tests to get a state driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status. The NYCLU led the charge to pass the Green Light law because it makes our roads safer for everyone, drives down insurance costs and makes it less likely that a simple traffic stop could lead to family separation or other life-shattering consequences for immigrant New Yorkers.
When DHS announced its move, it claimed to be doing so because “the [Green Light] law prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from sharing information with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), preventing DHS from fully vetting New York residents.”
This claim is just a smokescreen.
Data protections in the Green Light Law that prevent access to DMV data do nothing to prevent DHS from fully vetting anyone who uses Global Entry or other Trusted Traveler programs.
Access to DMV records provides no relevant information that is not available about many if not most New York residents applying for Global Entry, and any information the DMV alone may have would have little or no bearing on their eligibility for the program. In fact, it’s not even clear that DHS was using DMV records for vetting Global Entry applicants before it cut off New York’s access to the program.
What this means is that the Trump Administration’s move to kill Global Entry for New Yorkers has nothing to do with safety or security and everything to do with punishing New York for protecting immigrants.
The suspension of Global Entry also fits into a pattern of Trump going after New York for enacting policies that thwart his cruel anti-immigrant agenda. He’s criticized New York City for preventing city employees from enabling the Trump administration’s war on immigrants. And his administration even tried to withhold federal money to states in order to coerce them to do his bidding.
His administration’s Global Entry move is just another bite at this same rotten apple.
Our lawsuit will fight him for punishing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for not bending to his cruel political will.