The Global Business Travel Association expressed support for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to suspend enrollments and renewals in Global Entry and related “trusted traveler” programs for New York state residents. The statement differed from what two other industry groups, the American Society of Travel Advisors and the U.S. Travel Association, had to say about the move.

“Safety and security are the foundation for the aviation industry,” according to GBTA COO and executive director Scott Solombrino. “Any actions that call into question the veracity of the data collected, which undermines the safety of the trusted travel programs, must be carefully examined to ensure safe and efficient travel for all those traveling. Without the assurances of reliable background checks and passenger data, the trusted traveler programs will no longer be trusted and become compromised.”

According to DHS, New York’s prohibition on sharing driver’s license information with federal immigration and customs agencies inhibits federal investigations into crime and terrorism.

Scott Solombrino, GBTA
GBTA executive director Scott Solombrino

“CBP also uses that data for national security purposes and to ensure safe and lawful trade and travel,” according to a statement attributed to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. “Specifically, CBP is able to offer trusted traveler programs like Global Entry because we are able to use DMV data to make an evidence-based assessment that those individuals who seek this benefit are low risk and meet the eligibility requirements. Without the DMV information we aren’t able to make that assessment.”

“It is pure politics,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “[DHS official Ken Cuccinelli] says it’s in furtherance of the president’s promise to keep America safe from the immigrants which is … obviously false because … to get this Global Entry pass, you have to do an in-person interview with a federal official. So forget them checking state databases. You have to go to a federal office or sit with a federal official, do an in-person interview provide them data and then you get signed up. They want to make their political point, which is they’re anti-immigrant.”

“Travel should not be politicized,” according to a statement from U.S. Travel EVP for public affairs Tori Emerson Barnes. “Trusted traveler programs enhance our national security because they provide greater certainty regarding a person’s identity, citizenship and criminal background. Suspending enrollment in Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs only undermines travel security and efficiency. We are in contact with the Department of Homeland Security to convey this message.”

U.S. Travel represents travel, tourism and related industry segments.

The American Society of Travel Advisors also opposed the move “on behalf of the 8,700 New Yorkers who work at travel agencies in the state, their clients and partners.”

“The Administration could have used a scalpel here, but chose a sledgehammer instead,” according to ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby. “Penalizing every New Yorker enrolled or who plans to enroll in valuable trusted traveler programs like Global Entry over a dispute between the federal and state government is wrong. Now more than ever, the government should be looking for ways to facilitate travel, not hinder it. Further, this ‘fix’ is nonsensical.”

ASTA noted that to join Global Entry, participants produce valid passports, provide fingerprints and pass background checks.

The move by DHS affects enrollments and renewals for Global Entry, the Nexus program that speeds U.S.-Canada border crossings, the Sentri program which does the same for both Canada and Mexico border crossings, and the Fast program for truckers crossing both those borders. TSA PreCheck is not affected.

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