What the Global Entry Suspension Means (at this point) for New York State Residents

First of all, let me say I am sorry for the inconvenience this will cause you upon reentry to the USA from abroad. It is going to stink standing in those long lines again, now made even longer.

Second, for the immediate future, your workaround may be to travel home to Newark or other US entry point (the first place you touch down on US soil is the place you go through Customs, and therefore the first place you would use Global Entry).


What happened?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will ban New Yorkers from many TTPs (though not TSA Precheck). That’s in response to New York’s “Green Light Law,” which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses and promises to not share their information with immigration agencies.

Those already in the program, which grants easier immigration process for travelers returning to the United States from abroad for a period of five years, will not be affected, but will not be allowed to reapply.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said on Thursday that the Administration could follow suit with other states if they try to limit access to DMV records, mentioning Washington State in particular. “They should know that their citizens are going to lose the convenience of entering these Trusted Traveler programs, just as New York did,” he said.

The U. S. Travel Association responded immediately, saying “travel should not be politicized. Trusted traveler programs enhance our national security because they provide greater certainty regarding a person’s identity, citizenship, and criminal background. Suspending enrollment in Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs only undermines travel security and efficiency. We are in contact with the Department of Homeland Security to convey this message.”

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) followed, calling on its New York members to contact their elected officials, and on the Trump Administration to reverse its decision.

“We strongly oppose this measure on behalf of the 8,700 New Yorkers who work at travel agencies in the state, their clients and partners. The Administration could have used a scalpel here, but chose a sledgehammer instead. Penalizing every New Yorker enrolled or who plans to enroll in valuable trusted traveler programs like Global Entry over a dispute between the federal and state government is wrong. Now more than ever, the government should be looking for ways to facilitate travel, not hinder it.

“Further, this ‘fix’ is nonsensical. Those in the Global Entry program have already produced a valid passport (proving citizenship in the U.S. or other participating countries), have submitted fingerprints, and passed a background check in order to qualify. Denying them the ability to renew because the New York DMV isn’t sharing information with the Department of Homeland Security regarding undocumented immigrants makes no sense.

“We call on the Administration to reverse this decision and call on our New York members to contact their elected officials. We will be giving our members the tools to do so in the coming days.”


What can you do?

  1. Travel advisors also are advising U.S. travelers and visitors from Canada to download the Mobile Passport Control app, which also speeds entry by doing some of the immigration clearance in advance.
    There’s also the private CLEAR program, which takes members to the front of the line as they clear customs to exit the country, but does not help when they return.
  2. Write your Congressional and Senate representatives to advise them of the hardship this puts on you, especially if you are frequent international travelers. Here’s some language you can use:

“I urge you to put pressure on DHS to reinstate Global Entry in New York. This ban will have a direct impact on law-abiding U.S. citizens, many who are international business travelers in addition to leisure travelers who travel abroad. You think the immigration lines at JFK are long now? This will only add to the mess. Wait times will be increased for all if this is allowed to remain in effect.”

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