The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has just announced that effective immediately it will no longer accept new enrollments or renewals of New York State residents for any of their Trusted Traveler Programs over the states sanctuary policies.
The decision comes after New York began shielding state driver’s license records from ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which administers several trusted-traveler programs.
According to the agencies this will make it impossible to vet individuals to a proper degree in order to be admitted into one of these programs.
The Wall Street Journal just reported this restriction will go into effect immediately.
The Department of Homeland Security is suspending enrollment in Global Entry and other trusted-traveler programs for New York residents in response to the state’s so-called sanctuary policies to safeguard immigrants from deportation, the acting chief of the department said.
Chad Wolf announced the decision in a Fox News interview Wednesday, a day after President Trump devoted several minutes of his State of the Union address to excoriating sanctuary jurisdictions, which limit law-enforcement cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. …
Mr. Wolf said in the interview that DHS will immediately stop accepting new applications from New York state residents to enroll or re-enroll in some of the agency’s trusted-traveler programs, including Global Entry, which affords participating U.S. citizens expedited entry into the U.S. …
New York passed a law late last year permitting illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses and shielding state driver’s license records from ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which administers several trusted-traveler programs.
Mr. Wolf said the limited access to driver’s license records, in particular, has hamstrung the work of ICE and CBP officers who rely on the data for photo identification, license-plate searches and other biographical information.
“They are using personal data that they get from that database to look up an individual’s date of birth, their photo, and they are using that as they build that case,” Mr. Wolf said on Fox News. “They can no longer do that because of what New York did.” …
That data, he said, helps CBP verify the identities of people applying for Global Entry and the agency’s other programs that allow travelers to enter the U.S. or move through security more quickly.
“We no longer have access to make sure that they meet those program requirements,” he said.
Under the new policy, New York residents will no longer be able to apply for or renew their enrollment in Global Entry, along with NEXUS and SENTRI, programs that enable drivers to cross the Mexico and Canada borders more quickly. Enrollment in TSA PreCheck won’t be affected by the new policy.
Considering that Global Entry, Nexus and SENTRI are very restrictive programs limited to U.S. citizens, lawful Permanent Residents and select foreigners who will require a more stringent vetting process including a police clearance from their local border police I fail to see how the sanctuary policies of individual states would impede the work of CBP/DHS here, at least when it comes to Global Entry.
SENTRI and Nexus are a different matter as those affect crossings to Mexico and Canada which are often tied in with a vehicle over land borders as well. New York state has quite a lot of participants in these two programs.
That being said a drivers license alone won’t mean anything in terms of entitlement. All these TTP’s are very stringent as far as the rules are concerned so the primary method of verification will always be the passport and if applicable Permanent Resident card that the traveler always has to carry. Participating in the program just expedites the process at point of entry.
In any case with the implementation of RealID there will be further problems coming towards individuals who would otherwise not be eligible for a valid ID document and wish to travel by air.
Once the RealID requirement kicks in for domestic air travel (apparently on October 1, 2020 though that date has already been pushed out several times) it will get c difficult and those who don’t carry one will have to provide alternate forms of Identification such as a passport. Obtaining a drivers license or state ID with the RealID feature requires a valid U.S. Social Security Number without exception.
It’s hard to say if DHS makes part of this up or if there is really a significant security gap and having access to the drivers license system is essential for vetting and issuing memberships. As mentioned I think with SENTRI they definitely have a point, not sure about NEXUS. Global Entry really has nothing to do with drivers licenses per se, the issue is more likely that databases in the U.S. aren’t properly connected to begin with. If the government can’t perform a proper background check on someone without relying on the DMV then something is seriously wrong.
Residents of New York who are affected by this could possible “move” to another state for some time, maybe if their parents or relatives live out of state. That should be a legitimate move though, lying on federal government applications is just calling for trouble.