The Government Accountability Office produced a study of trusted traveler programs that they released on Friday.
We learned that there were a little over a million people enrolled in Global Entry as of January, and just under a million enrolled in NEXUS at that time.
GAO found a backlog of pending applications, about 90,000 at one time needing review, and no plan in place to improve efficiency.
GAO also found that trusted traveler interviews didn’t consistently follow published guidelines, and raised questions about denial rates. GAO and the Department of Homeland security disagree on the need for scripted interview questions.
While the US works on reciprocity with other countries for trusted traveler programs, they aren’t very careful about documenting other countries’ procedures for clearing people.
CBP has discussed information about other countries’ operational procedures for sharing applicant-vetting results, but has not documented this information for seven of the countries, consistent with internal control standards. Without such documentation, there is no institutional record that those countries’ procedures for vetting applicants help to ensure that only low-risk applicants are enrolled.
I finally signed up for Global Entry over a year ago, figuring the government knew everything about me anyway (and this was pre-Snowden). And I’m just glad not to get stuck in interminable immigration queues at New York JFK and O’Hare, and to pretty much always get PreCheck now (it was hit or miss before, although PreCheck queues can also be far longer than they used to be… and filled with people still taking off their shoes and taking out their liquids).
(HT: Carrie C.)