This is not politics, or even an opinion. This is an undeniable fact, affecting countless travelers – many of whom are U.S. Citizens. The U.S. Government and the Department of Homeland Security have recently began a spat of Global Entry revocations, taking away paid, airport fast track immigration privileges, and many revocations appear to target only one ethnic group.
News stories are beginning to circle around rampant revocation of Global Entry privileges from U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders, many of whom happen to be Muslim, Arab or South Asian nations. Global Entry is only extended to U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders and vetted citizens of a growing list of nations including the UK and Germany. The program is a very efficient way of departing and arriving for flights. Members are vetted before acceptance and pay a substantial fee for the privilege.
Global Entry is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s airport fast track service. Members gain access to TSA PreCheck airport security lines, which speeds up the process. The program also grants Global Entry access – where members bypass immigration lanes, in favor of speedy kiosks. Members are highly vetted before joining and cannot have any criminal or suspect history. Of course, this does nothing to bar a U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder from entry, it just makes their lives more difficult – for no reason.
The Intercept features a powerful example of a Seattle based professor with a family of four. The woman began receiving intense scrutiny after a business trip to China – only to soon find out her membership had been revoked without cause. She happens to teach Yoga in her free time, when not raising American kids. She is Muslim and was born in Lebanon. Since January 31st 2018, the Customs and Border Patrol Agency, which handles immigration on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security has revoked over 500 similar privileges. A freedom of information request, which the Intercept obtained confirms the trend.
This is a direct response to a Trump immigration directive. Experts have pointed to the notion that while the President’s sweeping “Muslim ban” directives did not reach their end goal, motions such as these revocations have acted to implement a “backdoor” ban. A CBP staffer told the Intercept “we have manually revoked, denied or failed risk on hundreds in this category.”