The move was to minimize Customs and Border Patrol personnel’s exposure to COVID-19.

By Alison Fox
April 23, 2020
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Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday extended its suspension on enrollment for popular travel programs like Global Entry through at least June 1 amid the continued spread of COVID-19.

The program was initially suspended on March 19.

As part of the closure, the agency said it would shutter enrollment centers for Global Entry, which allows expedited immigration when entering the country, as well as other trusted traveler programs like NEXUS and SENTRI, which allow for easier crossings from Canada and Mexico.

The agency said the move was to minimize CBP personnel’s exposure to the coronavirus. Global Entry applications, for example, require an interview.

“CBP’s highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of our workforce and the American people,” the agency said in a statement. “CBP agents, officers and mission support personnel will continue to support the whole-of-America response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

However, the agency’s Enrollment on Arrival program — which allows applicants who have already been conditionally approved and are flying into a U.S. airports from an international flight to complete the process — is still open.

That programWhile the enrollment suspension is only temporary, when it does start up again, New Yorkers will not be eligible. In February, the Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer accept applications from New Yorkers, citing a law in the state that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license.

The move also comes as DHS has taken other steps to shield government personnel from person-to-person contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic like postponing the deadline for Real ID driver’s licenses and ID cards, which require an in-person visit to the DMV.

And to make travel easier, the Transportation Security Administration has agreed to allow people through security using an expired driver’s license if the holder is not able to renew it right now.

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