A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security reached out following last week’s article regarding the New York Global Entry application ban for residents. I offer my own clarifications as well.
Last Week’s Post on the Ban
Last week I posted that the Department of Homeland Security was right to block new applications for Global Entry for New York residents. The state intentionally obscured DMV database records, requiring the DHS to secure a warrant for any person they wanted to evaluate further. The state of New York acted within their rights to restrict access and the DHS responded within their rights to disallow new applicants to the program.
The driver for change in New York was to shield undocumented migrants from entities like the CBP and ICE who may deport migrants if found to be without documentation.
I received an email from the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for the DHS, Heather Swift, regarding the post. I reached out to clarify some aspects but was unable to connect with her. Here are the highlights of the note she sent:
“We had to restrict TTPs like Global Entry because we are not able to properly vet individuals without access to specific DMV information.”
I had also stated in my post that if the DHS enforces this ban in New York state, they need to do so in the 12 other Sanctuary cities/states. She addressed this specifically,
“New York is the ONLY state that specifically bans the DMV from sharing any and all information with CBP and ICE. The California law gives drivers licenses to illegal aliens and restricts the sharing of immigration status, but not other info.”
Lastly, I referenced a quote used in the Wall Street Journal article from the previous week which they had collected in December. It conflated a couple of issues.
- “DHS law enforcement investigates a whole range of criminal activity, including terrorism, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
- Imagine if a law enforcement officer is staking out a known location where children are sexually exploited, and that officer is not able to run a license plate on a car that frequents that house.
- Or, think of the Customs and Border Protection agent who is sitting in her booth at the US-Canada border and encounters a traveler who looks like the photo on the BOLO poster. She is unable to run a check on his NY driver’s license or check on his plates to verify his identity.
- We rely on the information in DMV databases for information to build out cases, identify criminal suspects, and enhance officer safety.”
I mentioned in the last post that I doubted that pedophiles, child pornographers, human traffickers and terrorists were applying for Global Entry, I also noted that if the DHS can’t check everyone to ensure they are approvable for the program than they can approve no one. Ms. Swift’s note highlights that point.
There was also some misunderstanding on my part of the intricacies of the “green light” laws that provide identification elsewhere, but only New York restricts access to the database. That’s a failure on my part and explains why places like California were kept out of the ban.
The DHS response does clarify the reason for needing the information and when reviewing the Global Entry requirements, applicants would be determined to be ineligible if they “Are the subject of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency.” That doesn’t mean charges are filed, but as Swift pointed out, may link with some of their information such as their identity or license plate.
If I had been able to connect with Ms. Swift I would have asked what the DHS does when a traveler is not a driver and thus has no DMV records as one commenter raised?
Had New York declared the state a Sanctuary but not restricted access to the DHS for criminal records, I don’t believe this action would have been taken. I also believe that it’s politically-motivated on both sides of the issue. New York is making the state a safe haven for undocumented migrants who may face deportation or prosecution and the DHS can’t evaluate applicants without ensuring they qualify for the program. Her note reinforces the position of the DHS on this matter being the correct decision and their inaction elsewhere corroborates those statements.
What do you think? Given the response from the DHS do you agree that they were right to stop new applicants and renewal from the Trusted Traveler Programs? Do you think the “persons without a license” issue still causes problems for their logic?