After six months, residents of New York State are again allowed to apply for Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry.
Why? Because the Department of Homeland Security made false statements to justify the ban.
The DHS previously insisted that it had to block New Yorkers from obtaining Global Entry memberships because the state prohibits the federal government from using records from the Department of Motor Vehicles in background checks. DHS had wanted to access those records to pursue leads regarding undocumented immigrants.
Frommer's has been calling that justification suspicious since the very start. And it fell apart in court filings when it became obvious that several other states, plus Washington, D.C., also restrict access to DMV records, yet residents of those areas are not blocked from applying for Global Entry. For them, the DHS simply finds other legal means for verifying applicant identity, proving the ban unfairly singled out New Yorkers.
"Defendants deeply regret the foregoing inaccurate or misleading statements and apologize to the court and plaintiffs for the need to make these corrections at this late stage in the litigation,” wrote lawyers for the DHS as they gave up the ghost.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the federal lawsuit that caused the ban to crumble, issued a victorious statement: "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. 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."
Of course, New Yorkers won't be able to complete their Global Entry application interviews anytime soon. The feds keep postponing the reopening of Trusted Traveler interview centers even though the government formulated an acceptable safety plan a month ago, at the start of the summer.
Officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were supposed to have been manning Global Entry registration centers by now; instead, CBP agents have been confirmed as part of the federal forces that are patrolling Portland, Oregon, and Albuquerque against the wishes of local attorneys general and law enforcement.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had called the targeting of New Yorkers by the DHS "unbounded arrogance."
Update, July 24: Frommer's readers report that even though DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf told the court he was restoring the right of New York residents to obtain Global Entry, the application portal on the DHS website is still not allowing forms to be completed if the state of residence is New York.