Virtue signaling can carry a cost

Last night on our Power Line VIP program, Steve noted that the Department of Homeland Security plans to deny the privileges of its Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs to New Yorkers. The Global Entry program enables American citizens and permanent residents who travel abroad to avoid long customs lines when they return to the U.S.

As I understand it, to determine who qualifies as a “trusted traveler,” the DHS relies on various government data including information related to driver’s licenses. It uses such information as criminal history and fugitive warrants, as well as corroboration of address and physical characteristics.

New York, having declared itself a sanctuary state, allows illegal immigrants, who do not have social security numbers, to obtain valid state driver’s licenses. It also bars the state from sharing with federal immigration authorities data relating to driver’s licenses.

By doing so, it restricts DHS’s ability to properly vet would-be trusted travelers. Hence the move to bar New Yorkers from the Global Entry program — a move, the rationale for which applies to other states with similar sanctuary laws.

Critics claim that the Trump administration’s move is purely punitive. New York governor Andrew Cuomo accused the administration of “unbounded arrogance” and “disrespect of the rule of law.”

It’s not clear to me what law the administration is disrespecting. As far as I can tell, DHS’s action is lawful.

Is it a good faith effort to ensure that the Global Entry program doesn’t jeopardize America’s security? Nothing I’ve seen so far demonstrates otherwise, but I don’t know enough to say for sure.

But even if DHS’s move is punitive, I don’t have a problem with it.

If New York can tell federal immigration authorities to go to hell, why shouldn’t federal immigration authorities respond in kind for the limited purpose of the Trusted Traveler Program. And if New York’s elites want to signal their virtue by enabling dangerous criminal illegal immigrants to have sanctuary in their state, why shouldn’t these elitists actually display virtue by willingly standing in long lines when they globe trot?

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