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Rice, Clarke Lead Bipartisan Delegation Letter Questioning DHS Ban on New Yorkers from Global Entry Program

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Washington, February 6, 2020 | comments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Kathleen Rice (NY-04) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) today led a bipartisan letter to Acting Secretary Chad Wolf questioning the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to implement a new policy banning New York State residents from the Global Entry Program and other Trusted Traveler Programs. The letter comes following Acting Secretary Wolf’s cable television announcement of the policy and the letter DHS sent to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

“You failed to provide any notice to our congressional delegation about your decision. Rather, we learned through reporting that a letter was sent to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) alerting them of this policy change, which will immediately impact roughly 50,000 to 80,000 New York State residents with applications pending and another 150,000 to 200,000 New York State residents per year, who are trying to renew membership. This is of great concern and unacceptable to many of our constituents,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. 

U.S. Representatives Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Grace Meng (NY-06), Joseph Morelle (NY-25), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Tom Reed (NY-23), Max Rose (NY-11), José Serrano (NY-15), Tom Suozzi (NY-03), Paul Tonko (NY-20), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) joined Rice and Clarke on the letter. 

Read the full letter below or here.

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February 6, 2020

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

You recently announced on cable television that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be barring New York State residents from enrolling in Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs. You failed to provide any notice to our congressional delegation about your decision. Rather, we learned through reporting that a letter was sent to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) alerting them of this policy change, which will immediately impact roughly 50,000 to 80,000 New York State residents with applications pending and another 150,000 to 200,000 New York State residents per year, who are trying to renew membership. This is of great concern and unacceptable to many of our constituents. 

New York is the only state in the country that has been singled out for exclusion from these critical programs. Accordingly, our offices have received an influx of questions and concerns from constituents who have pending Global Entry applications or renewals. You have not provided sufficient guidance to our offices on how to handle these cases. 

For all of these reasons, we ask that the Department provide a briefing for our offices on this issue by Thursday, February 13. We also ask that you respond in full to the following questions by the same date: 

  1. The Department has asserted that your decision relates to database accessibility issues. Have you made attempts to come to an agreement with New York State to gain appropriate access to State DMV records, with proper controls to protect sensitive information? Please provide copies of any agreements between DHS and other states that have driver’s license issuance policies analogous to New York's.
  2. Will you be providing refunds to individuals who have pending Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST applications?
  3. Applicants for trusted traveler programs already submit personal and biometric information in order to qualify. How does DHS currently process trusted traveler program applications from individuals who do not have a driver’s license?
  4. This decision applies not only to new enrollments, but also to re-enrollments in trusted traveler programs. However, individuals re-enrolling already had their information verified using DMV records when they submitted their original applications. Why is the Department not allowing existing trusted travelers to re-enroll?
  5. If, as the Department claims, it is unable to properly certify residency for the trusted traveler programs it is targeting then why was the TSA PreCheck program excluded from this policy change? Why has Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Cuccinelli indicated that the TSA PreCheck program could be included in the future?

We look forward to sharing your timely response with our constituents.  

Sincerely,

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