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When President Trump’s original travel ban was first introduced, there was confusion as to who exactly would be ineligible for entry to the United States. Would it be just citizens of the Muslim-majority nations? Or would, somehow, even US citizens be affected? Or, something of a mix. As it turns out, the ban’s implications may have been more wide-sweeping than we originally thought.
As reported by Bloomberg, the US Customs and Border Protection revoked — without any explanation or warning — the memberships of some Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs members, including NEXUS, Secure Electronic Network and Free and Secure Trade. According to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the dozens of complaints it received, American citizens whose memberships were revoked didn’t know about it until they tried to travel.
Some people who claimed that their memberships in the Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs were revoked were US citizens originally from countries that were not included in the ban, such as India, Lebanon and Pakistan. A spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said that he was “fairly certain” that people were removed from the program(s) based on their names.
The CBP responded by saying, “The allegation that US Customs and Border Protection cancelled Trusted Traveler memberships because the member had a ‘Muslim-sounding name’ is completely false.”
In a statement, the CBP said that it’s restored all trusted traveler memberships (including Global Entry) to all effected members. However, a representative from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said he wasn’t sure if everyone whose status had been revoked had yet to be restored.
As many travelers are aware, Global Entry is a program that allows access to expedited immigration upon returning to the US from international travel. There’s an application and an interview process involved in order for someone to get approved as a member of the program, making the motivation for the sudden revoking of memberships even more questionable. The revoking of these trusted traveler memberships could mean that the administration’s immigration policies could extend far beyond what was previously known.
Featured image courtesy of Jeff Greenberg via Getty Images.
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