The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has spoken out against the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to bar New Yorkers from enrolling in certain Trusted Traveler programs, such as Global Entry.
“We strongly oppose this measure on behalf of the 8,700 New Yorkers who work at travel agencies in the state, their clients and partners,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby in a written statement. “The Administration could have used a scalpel here, but chose a sledgehammer instead. 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. Those in the Global Entry program have already produced a valid passport (proving citizenship in the U.S. or other participating countries), have submitted fingerprints and passed a background check in order to qualify. Denying them the ability to renew because the New York DMV isn’t sharing information with the Department of Homeland Security regarding undocumented immigrants makes no sense.”
“We call on the Administration to reverse this decision and call on our New York members to contact their elected officials. We will be giving our members the tools to do so in the coming days.”
ASTA’s statement echoes an earlier reaction by the U.S. Travel Association.
"Travel should not be politicized,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy 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."
The DHS decision, which was outlined in a letter to New York State officials late Wednesday, bars New Yorkers from “applying or re-applying” for four Trusted Traveler programs: Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST. The letter did not mention TSA Precheck.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.