03.02.18

SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO APPROVE ISRAEL’S MEMBERSHIP IN GLOBAL ENTRY PROGRAM; WITH 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF U.S.-ISRAEL RELATIONS THIS YEAR, SENATOR SAYS GLOBAL ENTRY WILL STRENGTHEN U.S.- ISRAEL PARTNERSHIP & PROVIDE PRE-APPROVED VISITORS FROM ISRAEL A SMOOTHER VISIT

Since 2012, Israel Has Been in a Limited Global Entry Pilot Program; Schumer Says Leisure & Business Travelers from Israel Have Made A Significant Contribution To The U.S. Economy, Yet Travel From Israel Has Declined 

Schumer Says Israel’s Membership In the Global Entry Program Will Attract More Visitors By Providing a More Seamless Travel Experience; Would Also Promote Closer Security Cooperation 

Schumer: Israel’s Participation in Global Entry Is Win-Win-Win for Visitors, Economy & Enhanced Security

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, along with the entire U.S. Senate, urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to approve Israel’s membership in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry program. The Global Entry program provides pre-approved passport holders from a smoother visit to the U.S. and helps keep our country even safer by enhancing bilateral law enforcement cooperation. Schumer said that expansion of Global Entry to Israel will attract more visitors from Israel, one of our closest allies, and promote closer security cooperation with Israeli authorities, which can help direct CBP resources to those who pose a legitimate danger. The letter to DHS was led by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and James Inhofe (R-Okla).

“With the 70th anniversary of U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations this year, it would be especially fitting to approve Israel’s membership in the Global Entry program. Israel’s full membership in the Global Entry program would be a win-win-win, as it will provide a more seamless traveling experience for travelers, contribute greatly to our economy and strengthen the bond between these two great democracies. It is great news that all of my colleagues in the Senate are on board with this commonsense proposal and it is my hope that the Department of Homeland Security will heed our call,” said Senator Schumer.

Travelers form Israel have historically made a large contribution to the U.S. economy. In 2016, the U.S. welcomed approximately 410,000 Israeli visitors, who spent $1.7 billion, ranking Israel among the top 25 largest markets for U.S. travel and tourism exports according to the U.S .Department of Commerce. However, according to the U.S. Travel Association, travel from Israel to the U.S. is on a steady decline. Schumer said that approving Israel’s Global Entry membership could reverse this travel trend and attract more visitors.

Since 2012, Israel has participated in a limited Global Entry Pilot program and has been taking steps to become a full member of the program. Under the Global Entry program, Israelis traveling to the United States would only be granted expedited entry after rigorous scrutiny and vetted clearance from both countries. Schumer said the program would help provide crucial information-sharing between our two countries during a time when both nations face increasing threats from around the globe.

Currently, citizens of the following countries are eligible for Global Entry membership: Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Mexican nationals.

A copy of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Nielsen:

We write to you in support of Israel’s participation in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry program. Expanding Global Entry’s expedited clearance process to pre-approved visitors from Israel, one of the United States’ closest allies, will help strengthen our partnership while improving our ability to screen potential threats against the U.S. homeland. We note that the Israeli government is currently participating in a limited Global Entry pilot program pursuant to a 2012 bilateral agreement and is taking steps internally to become a full member therefore we urge you to expedite its full membership and reciprocity for Americans as soon as Israel is ready to join the program. 

Leisure and business travelers from Israel have made a significant contribution to the U.S. economy and job creation. According to the U.S. Travel Association, every $1 million spent by international visitors has directly supported the creation of 7.9 jobs in the U.S. travel industry. In 2016, our country welcomed approximately 410,000 Israeli visitors, who spent $1.7 billion, ranking Israel among the top 25 largest markets for U.S. travel and tourism exports according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, analysis by the U.S. Travel Association indicates that travel from Israel to the U.S. has recently been on the decline. With the U.S. currently capturing just 6.7 percent of the outbound Israeli travel market, as a country, we can do more to attract these visitors and Global Entry membership is an important way to welcome them.

Israel’s membership in Global Entry would not only provide its passport holders a smoother visit to the U.S. but would also help to make our country safer by enhancing bilateral law enforcement cooperation. Only after rigorous scrutiny and clearance by both countries will approved Israeli travelers be extended the facility of expedited entry into the United States through self-service kiosks at U.S. airports. These procedures enhance security-related information sharing with the United States at a time when the threats we face are increasingly global in nature. Expansion of Global Entry to Israel will promote even closer security cooperation with the Israeli authorities, which can help direct CBP resources to higher-risk, unknown travelers and enforcement.  

As 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations, extending full Global Entry membership and reciprocity for Americans would be a fitting gesture of our continued efforts to enhance the security and economic partnership between our two nations. We strongly support Israel’s membership in CBP’s Global Entry program and urge the efforts towards this goal be accelerated as much as possible to help ensure the best travel experience to strengthen the bonds between our two great democracies. We also request an update on our engagement with your Israeli counterparts on this issue.

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