In a surprise move, the Trump administration has reversed its decision to bar New York state residents from Trusted Traveler Programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST. The administration had prohibited New Yorkers from registering or renewing their membership in these programs in February 2020 in retaliation for New York's decision to grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.
The reversal came in response to lawsuits filed by New York state and the New York Civil Liberties Union. In overturning its policy, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admitted making false statements to justify its policy. Specifically, DHS had argued that New York had placed excessive restrictions on the DHS's access to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle records, making it impossible for DHS to properly vet Trusted Traveler applicants. DHS's rationale for singling out New York was that the state had placed more restrictions on DHS than any other jurisdiction had. In a recent filing, however, DHS admitted that several other states and territories, including Washington, D.C., had, indeed, placed similar restrictions on DHS's access to driver's license records, yet their residents had not been barred from access to Trusted Traveler Programs, clearly revealing that politics was the sole motivation for the administration's punishment of New Yorkers.
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