Trump lets New Yorkers back into federal travelers program

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airport kiosk

A Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network kiosk awaits at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, May 2010. (AP / Reed Saxon)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Trump administration says New Yorkers can once again enroll and reenroll in Global Entry and other federal travel programs that allow vetted travelers to avoid long security lines at the U.S. border.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday it had lifted a ban that dates back to February.

The administration cited a still-existing state law that lets immigrants in the country without legal authorization obtain state driver’s licenses and limited federal access to state records. The Legislature in April amended the provision, and the Trump administration can now access driving records of individuals who are applying for the trusted travelers program.

In February, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and their acting leaders when they ended Global Entry, SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection), NEXUS, and FAST (Free and Secure Trade) programs in New York.

“The Trump Administration backing down and restoring Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs to New Yorkers is a victory for travelers, workers, commerce, and our state’s economy,” James said. “This policy was political retribution, plain and simple, which is why we filed our lawsuit to stop the president from targeting and punishing New Yorkers in the first place.”

The announcement comes at a time when international travel has been severely curtailed because of the pandemic.

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