GOP lawmakers call for review of TSA policy allowing illegal immigrants to use warrants to board flights

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FIRST ON FOX: Republicans in both the House and Senate are calling for the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office to review a policy by the Transportation Security Administration that allows illegal immigrants to use civil immigration judgment warrants to board domestic flights — claiming it “creates serious security concerns and undermines the progress we have made since 9/11.”

The TSA confirmed to Fox News Digital in January that illegal immigrants are allowed to use civil immigration judgment warrants as alternative forms of ID to board airplanes.

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Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are now requesting, in a letter obtained by Fox News Digital, that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari review the TSA’s policies. GOP Reps. Scott DesJarlais, Barry Moore, Byron Donalds and Randy Weber also signed on to the letter.

sen. Marco Rubio and members of Congress hold a news conference on the benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits at the VFW Building on April 13, 2021 in Washington, DC
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

“We write to request your review of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) policies and procedures, which have allowed, and could further allow, illegal aliens to enter the sterile area of ​​an airport and board commercial airlines without proper identification and, in some cases , use judgment warrants as a form of identification,” they wrote.

“After the horrific attack our nation experienced on September 11, 2001, Congress saw the urgent need to protect our nation’s transportation system and created TSA in response,” they wrote. “Now TSA is allowing unvetted illegal aliens to gain access to our airports and board commercial aircraft, which creates serious security concerns and undermines the progress we have made since 9/11.”

The lawmakers wrote that in January TSA responded to a congressional inquiry, which they say “confirmed several details that present an apparent failure to protect our transportation network.”

The lawmakers wrote that TSA “stated 159 non-citizen and non-US national passengers fly daily without proper identification or with documents that do not accurately confirm the identity of those passengers.”

“In fact, the agencies responsible for issuing these documents have stated they are not acceptable alternatives to ID and do not sufficiently confirm or verify the individual’s identity,” the lawmakers wrote.

Rep.  Lance Gooden, R-Texas, visits the southern border in San Diego.  (Rep. Lance Gooden's office)

Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, visits the southern border in San Diego. (Rep. Lance Gooden’s office)

The lawmakers are calling for a review of the TSA operations “specifically at border airports” and a report on how the agencies “confirm an individual’s identify before they issue one.”

They also requested that the inspector general review whether the agencies believe that “warrant for arrest of aliens; warrant of removal/deportation; order of release on recognizance; order of supervision; notice to appear; arrival and departure form; or alien booking record” are “alternatives to acceptable forms of ID.”

They also requested information on whether TSA coordinates and communicates with ICE, or local law enforcement; and if TSA coordinates with non-governmental organizations.

“I am shocked by TSA’s policy of allowing illegal immigrants’ judgment warrants to serve as identification when boarding a flight, as well as with their refusal to provide my office sufficient explanation for the policy,” Gooden told Fox News Digital. “Congress must investigate why the Biden administration put American lives and our national security at risk by allowing criminal aliens to board a plane.”

A TSA spokesperson, in January, told Fox News Digital that “for non-citizens and non-US nationals who do not otherwise have acceptable forms of ID for presentation at security checkpoints, TSA may also accept certain DHS-issued forms, including ICE Form I-200 (Warrant for Judgment of an Alien).”

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Representative Lance Gooden in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday, July 11, 2021.

Representative Lance Gooden in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday, July 11, 2021.
(Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

That form refers to a civil immigration judgment warrant — not a criminal judgment warrant. The TSA spokesperson, at the time, said that document would then be validated via an “alien identification number” being checked against a number of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) databases.

On Wednesday, the agency told Fox News Digital that to confirm an individual’s identity and to ensure they are not on a no-fly list or a known public safety or national security threat, “TSA verifies the identity of every traveler before they are permitted to enter the secure area of ​​an airport.”

“Noncitizens without a standard form of identification may instead present certain DHS-issued forms to a TSA officer,” a spokesperson said. “These forms are civil immigration violation documents, do not include criminal judgment warrants, and are not indicative of a threat to public safety or national security. TSA confirms the identity of the individual by verifying the personally identifiable information found on these forms using DHS’s CBP One™ mobile application.”

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The policy of accepting alternative forms of identification, including for illegal immigrants, has been in place before the Biden administration, but Republicans have raised new concerns about it amid the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

Meanwhile, in a separate letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske, the lawmakers wrote to request that he take “all necessary measures” to persevere “any and all documents and communications related to the screening and transportation of illegal alien, non-citizen, and non -US national passengers.”

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