UPDATE: Class action lawsuit over Global Entry moving forward against Trump Administration
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Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have officially joined the ongoing war with the Trump White House over the government’s ban on participation by New York State residents in the Trusted Traveler program, including Global Entry. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Tom Wolf suspended their participation in February.
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Now a New York federal court has certified those New Yorkers as participants in a class action lawsuit against the federal government. All New Yorkers who had planned to, had enrolled in, or were trying to extend their Global Entry permissions are eligible as plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the ban.
The lawsuit argues the new policy was unconstitutional retribution against citizens for the state’s so-called sanctuary policies. Those policies are designed to protect undocumented immigrants in the state from overzealous enforcement measures by federal immigration authorities.
The lawsuit is being brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union. In a statement first reported by Law360, Civil Liberties Union attorney Anthony Gemmell said, “The certification of the class of New Yorkers banned from Global Entry is an assuring step forward in our litigation.…The ban is arbitrary and discriminatory, and we’re confident our litigation will bring it to an end.”
The Trump Administration argues that New York’s cutoff of federal access to DMV records prevents proper screening of applicants for the Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST programs. New York gives licenses to immigrants and is refusing to share that data with the feds.
Lawyers and advocates point out that the data is available from other sources, including federal databases. New York Attorney General Letitia James says 13 other states have enacted similar sanctuary laws and haven’t had their travel programs suspended.
James sued separately on behalf of the State of New York in February, saying, “The Trump Administration’s new policy not only negatively impacts travelers, workers, commerce, and our economy, but it jeopardizes public safety. No one should ever use our nation’s security as a political weapon, let alone the commander-in-chief.”
The Trump Administration has asked the courts to throw out both lawsuits.
More than a quarter of a million New York residents had their applications in the trusted-traveler programs thrown out or will see their memberships end this year. There is some good news for New Yorkers: They are still being allowed to enroll in PreCheck although the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated that too.
If you are a New Yorker who has been affected, consider downloading and using Mobile Passport.
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