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.

Who

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.

What

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.

When

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 The woman began receiving intense scrutiny after a business trip to China – only to soon find out her membership had been revoked without cause.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.

Why

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.”

Has this affected anyone in your life?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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14 Comments

  1. “Global Entry is only extended to U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders…”

    Thankfully the program has been expanded to a number of other nations, including the UK. I applied for GE as soon as it became available and it came in very handy for my 8 viking fares 😉

    The full list:

    U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of the following countries are eligible for Global Entry membership:

    Citizens of Argentina
    Citizens of India
    Citizens of Colombia
    Citizens of United Kingdom
    Citizens of Germany
    Citizens of Panama
    Citizens of Singapore
    Citizens of South Korea
    Citizens of Switzerland
    Citizens of Taiwan
    Mexican nationals

  2. Thank you for this post. This American is truly saddened to see such shameful acts being carried out by the current government.

  3. Well, its not the Presbyterians who are driving into crowds of American and trying to blow up things. Maybe we can hear some condemnation from the peaceful Muslims about the senseless violence certain members of their community are inflicting on others? The silence is deafening.

    1. I see your point. But it wasn’t a Muslim who gunned people down at a music festival in Las Vegas, or who killed children and their teachers in Newtown CT or who opened fire on House representatives playing baseball. Worldwide 27000 people were killed by terrirists in 2017. But just in this country, 35000 people were killed by gun owners in 2017. So ban Muslims but not assault weapons — seems to me to be racially motivated.

  4. I know a decent number of American Muslims with Global Entry, and I can’t think of even one of them who has mentioned losing Global Entry. And I’ve seen some of them use Global Entry repeatedly this month too.

    It seems like there is no blanket ban against Americans being in Global Entry if they happen to be Muslim Americans.

  5. Great move.
    We have sacrificed so much for the security in many aspects of life, not just for traveling. Why not extend it to foreigners, for the sake of safety?

  6. I understand the need for “extreme vetting” and all that jazz, but wholesale revocation from one ethnicity is completely un-American.  If the government placed a membership on pause while they conducted an even more thorough (because your background is vetted during the application process) background check, that might be understandable.  But permanent revocation is a bad approach.

  7. Is it not possible that we, you, and a newspaper do not know everything that our intelligence agencies do?
    And it does more than just make their lives more difficult, it gives an officer face time with them instead of a machine.

    GE is a privilege, not a right. I’m very distrusting of gov in general, but this does not prevent ingress or egress. It just puts suspicious people through a little more security. I’ll trust the gov on this one.

    Sucks that they have to take a little more time in security, just like Christians/Americans do in many places. Non-issue, move along people.

  8. Giving CBP employees more face time with a passenger whose GE has been revoked for no obvious customs/immigration violation is ridiculous on its face when the passenger is admissible to the US and their ATS score isn’t such that they are frequently ending up at secondary for immigration or customs control purposes.

    That the USG is increasingly relying upon government contractors (corporations) to blacklist persons makes blacklisting (from GE or otherwise) even more problematic for people who care about due process and don’t fancy regulatory taking.

    There is nothing conservative or sensible about an American being a supporter of CBP revoking GE from US citizens without CBP giving any explanation for the revocation, all while denying due process before seizing a paid-for item/service in what isn’t even an emergency situation.

  9. Why do so many call this policy racist? Being Muslim is not a race……it’s a religion. When Muslim terrorists attack, they shout their religious slogan that Allah is the only God.

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