Trusted Traveler or Global Entry Programs: Recent Denial Trends

I wanted to point out what I see as some potential trends with the Trusted Traveler Program, which includes Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS.  My observations are informal, based on reviewing material from current or potential clients.

Here are some trends:

1.  CBP IS REFUSING TO GIVE A REASON FOR ITS DENIALS

Every Trusted Traveler/Global Entry denial I have seen recently, coming from either current or potential clients, has some version of the following language:

Participation in CBP Trusted Traveler Programs is voluntary and is available to persons who pass a comprehensive background check.  Applicants will not qualify for participation if they:

  • provide false or incomplete information on the application;
  • have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges to include outstanding warrants;
  • have been found in violation of any Customs, Immigration, or Agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • are subjects of an investigation by any Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency;
  • are inadmissible to the United States under Immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; or
  • cannot satisfy CBP that all eligibility requirements are met.

We regret to inform you that your membership in Global Entry has been revoked for the following reason:  You do not meet program eligibility requirements.

The ‘early’ Trusted Traveler program denials would at least give a reason for the denial (i.e. you were convicted of so-and-so crime on this date, etc…).  However, CBP’s recent language is clearly listing general denial grounds and then concluding by stating ‘you’re not eligible.’  Are you telling me that a traveler could pay $100 to participate in this program and not even receive a reason for being denied membership?  What kind of customer service is that? 

The GOES FAQ has the following information on this topic: 

I have been denied and would like to know the reason why.  Please contact an Enrollment Center for information on your denial or write to the CBP Trusted Traveler Ombudsman

The problem is that the Enrollment Centers do not seem to have specific information and tend to refer people to the Ombudsman.  Ombudsman inquiries/appeals are now so backlogged that it takes about six months to receive a reply.  So, an applicant has to write to the Ombudsman to request a reason for the denial and wait about six months for a reply?  Again, is this customer service?

2.  Criminal Infractions

This trend is not in writing at all.  The Trusted Traveler programs expressly states that any criminal conviction will result in a denial.  Clients or Potential Clients have told me that when they have spoken to a CBP agent at an Enrollment Center they were told that a single infraction over ten years old would be forgivable by the Ombudsman.  To me, it makes sense to have exceptions to the general rule.  It should be a facts or circumstances analysis.  For example, an applicant with a twenty five year old reckless driving conviction with no other convictions should be allowed his or her global entry.  However, CBP Agents at the Enrollment Centers are not working in the Ombudsman’s Office.  They do not seem to have specific information on what happens at the Ombudsman’s office.  The Ombudsman’s office is making the decisions on these cases.  It would be nice to hear from the Ombudsman’s office itself to obtain more guidance from them.

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