Yesterday The New York Times reported that New York state residents would have a harder time getting enrolled in Global Entry, as well as similar programs that offer expedited land border crossings with Mexico (SENTRI) and Canada (NEXUS).
The argument concerns a recent law passed by New York, which permits undocumented residents to receive a valid driver license. A clause within that law also bans federal immigration officials from accessing driver license records without a court order, presumably because said records are about to be an easy way for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify illegal immigrations.
Putting that to the side for one moment, I strongly recommend most travelers enroll in Global Entry or one of these other programs because they include all thee benefits of TSA PreCheck as well as faster border crossings when you return from an international trip. In some cases I’ve managed to connect from an international flight to a domestic one in under 30 minutes thanks to saving time in customs and when re-clearing security.
Global Entry is mostly limited to international flights, but similar programs called NEXUS and SENTRI are available to expedite land crossings with Canada or Mexico, respectively. These also include Global Entry benefits and have also been affected by the DHS freeze for New York residents.
This ban will also affect individuals attempting to renew their existing Global Entry membership. They’ll keep their benefits until their membership expires, but after that renewals will not be accepted. New applications will also be cancelled with refunds issued per a notice on the Customs and Border Patrol website. On the bright side, you won’t have to wait a year or more for your renewal to be processed…
It is whether this is a legitimate security issue or just another way for the Trump administration to secure some political points. He’s already made a point of holding up funding for transportation infrastructure in his former hometown of New York City, and he’s complained loudly about state and local governments that pass laws friendly to illegal immigrants.
This is a technical way to get back that is largely meritless. For example, the federal government already has separate databases with records of legal residents (such as the Social Security Administration), and there are other forms of valid photo ID issued by federal departments such as a passport or military ID. I can see perhaps refusing to accept a New York state driver license, but refusing any New York state resident is ridiculous.