The Global Entry enrollment center at LAX, designed to ease passage for travelers after an international flight, has closed its offices indefinitely to free Customs and Border Protection workers to work on “the humanitarian and security crisis on our southwest border,” an agency representative said.
Customs and Border Protection officials said they closed the LAX operation on June 23, but the closure apparently has surprised many travelers since then. Stephanie Smith of West Hollywood said she received an emailed appointment confirmation on July 1, then arrived for her July 19 appointment and found the doors locked.
“I would like my $100 back and/or an appointment to get my Global Entry application approved and finalized,” she said in an email to The Times.
Stephanie Malin, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection, said in an email that travelers “should have received notification if their appointment was being canceled.” Malin said she was checking on the LAX situation.
The Global Entry program, born about 10 years ago, gives expedited clearance to low-risk travelers who agree to pay a $100 application fee and provide fingerprints, a photo and information in an interview. If the application is approved, the traveler gets the expedited procedure for five years.
In November, Customs and Border Patrol officials expanded and relocated their LAX Global Entry operations to 11099 S. La Cienega Blvd., Suite 155, planning to handle a growing number of travelers who were willing to pay extra for a chance to move through airport lines faster.
But after Mexican border security and immigrant welfare conditions flared into crisis this year, leaders reassigned staff “to support front-line traveler processing at ports of entry during the busy summer months,” the agency said in a statement.
Jaime Ruiz, branch chief for strategic media engagement in Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Public Affairs, said the current situation is likely to last through the end of September and there’s no official reopening date.
For Los Angeles area travelers seeking Global Entry enrollment, Ruiz said, there are two main alternatives. One, if you are already conditionally approved, is to enroll on arrival — that is, to complete the interview — at LAX or another participating airport, including San Diego International, San Francisco International and John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana when returning to the U.S. from a foreign trip.
The other, Ruiz said, is to contact the agency’s Long Beach Seaport facility, 301 E. Ocean Blvd., Room 670, (562) 366-3267, which is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. (A phone recording notes that the facility handles Global Entry, but not walk-ins.)
The Global Entry Enrollment Center at San Diego International Airport remains open. The agency’s website indicates that the San Francisco International Airport Global Entry enrollment center also remains open, but staffers did not answer its phone or immediately respond to messages left Friday afternoon.