In a win for travelers who live in the Empire State, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is lifting a ban preventing New York residents from applying to Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry. Such programs provide travelers expedited service at airport security and border control.
The ban, which went into effect in February, was primarily seen as retaliatory. Displeased with New York’s protections for undocumented immigrants who apply for drivers licenses—namely the Green Light law, which impeded the ability of immigration authorities to review the Department of Motor Vehicle’s records—the Trump administration revoked the state’s rights to participate in the Trusted Traveler Programs. Under the ban, no New York residents were permitted to submit new applications for the programs, nor were existing participants in the programs permitted to re-enroll if their memberships were expiring. Active memberships were not affected.
Both New York State and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits against the DHS. As part of the proceedings, government lawyers acknowledged today that other states and territories with similar protections for undocumented immigrants were not banned from the Trusted Traveler Programs and that the DHS had provided misleading statements in its rationale for enacting the ban. As such, the DHS would be revoking the ban effective immediately.
"After the Department of Homeland Security announced the ban on the Trusted Traveler Program for New York residents in February, I immediately met with President Trump at the White House to discuss what—to the extent that there were bonafide concern—needed to be done to address the issue while still protecting the privacy of all New Yorkers," New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "Subsequently the matter was dealt with in the state budget passed in April. I am glad that this issue has finally been resolved for all New Yorkers."