The Trump administration will let New Yorkers back into Trusted Traveler programs after state officials expanded access to driver records, the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday.
Membership in the travel perks programs was closed to New Yorkers in February over a state law intended to protect illegal immigrants by restricting federal access to state databases.
The program’s best-known service is the 5 million-member Global Entry system, which allows people to breeze back into the US from overseas — though the cachet is diminished with most of the world off-limits to Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
New York changed its so-called Green Light Law to allow narrow federal access to records for the travel programs in a budget approved on April 1, officials told The Post.
The Trump administration had argued the prior state law hobbled counterterrorism and anticrime vetting.
In a Thursday press released, DHS said: “Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature … amended the Green Light Law to expressly allow for information-sharing of NY DMV records ‘as necessary for an individual seeking acceptance into a trusted traveler program, or to facilitate vehicle imports and/or exports.’”
As a result, DHS “will lift its ban” on New Yorkers, according to the press release, which was first reported by The Daily Caller.
Cuomo said in a statement on Thursday that he “immediately met with President Trump at the White House [in February] to discuss what — to the extent that there were bonafide concerns — needed to be done” to end the ban.
“Subsequently the matter was dealt with in the state budget passed in April. I am glad that this issue has finally been resolved for all New Yorkers,” the Democratic governor said.
Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.
New York officials said in February that the state was being held to an unfair double standard and filed a lawsuit to reverse the ban. “Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have Green Light Laws, but New York is the only state that has been targeted by this administration for retaliation,” Cuomo’s office said at the time.
The federal agency said Thursday it’s still unhappy with New York law’s restrictions on sharing driver’s license records with immigration and customs enforcement officers.
“New York law continues to maintain provisions that undermine the security of the American people and purport to criminalize information sharing between law enforcement entities,” DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.
The rescinded ban also prevented New Yorkers from joining or renewing their membership in three programs that allow for expedited passage across borders with Mexico and Canada, known as SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST.