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Homeland Republicans Demand Answers on Unfair, Lax TSA Screening for Inadmissible Aliens at Airports

March 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC) sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), demanding answers on the airport security screening process for inadmissible aliens who have been mass-paroled into the country through the CBP One app. Co-signers of the letter also include Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) and Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement Chairman Clay Higgins (R-LA).
In January 2024, a sign posted at a TSA checkpoint in Miami revealed that the agency is “partnering with CBP to test the use of CBP One” at various TSA checkpoints, further stating that inadmissible aliens without identification may decline to have their photo taken by TSA officers. In other words, inadmissible aliens are boarding flights across the country every day without ever presenting identification that American citizens and other travelers are required to provide.
While the CBP One app was created for commercial purposes, the Biden administration unlawfully expanded its use in January 2023 to allow otherwise-inadmissible aliens to schedule appointments at a port of entry with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and be released into the interior with a Notice to Appear (NTA) document after minimal, if any, vetting. This expansion further enables a violation of the clear statutory limits on granting parole. 

Read more in the Daily Mail via Jon Michael Raasch.

In a letter addressed to Administrator David Pekoske, the Chairmen write, “The TSA’s website provides a list of 16 types of identity documents that are considered acceptable at airport security checkpoints, including a driver’s license, passport, Department of Homeland Security (Department) trusted traveler card, border crossing card, Employment Authorization Card (I-766), or a permanent resident card. For individuals without one of the acceptable forms of identification, TSA may seek to confirm a traveler’s identity as part of an alternate identity verification process which involves the documentation of the individual’s name, address, and other personal information, as well as additional security screening.

“TSA, however, is reportedly allowing aliens without verifying identity documents to pass through airport security checkpoints, relying on unverified biographical information gathered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through the CBP One application (CBP One). CBP uses CBP One to facilitate migrant entry into the United States, allowing aliens to provide biographic information while scheduling an appointment to request parole at a port of entry. Upon an alien’s appearance at a port of entry for an appointment, CBP personnel will interview and process the alien for release. This information, much of which is self-reported and may not be sufficient to verify the identity of the alien, is the foundational data subsequently used to confirm an alien’s identity by other agencies, including TSA.”

The Chairmen continued, “The Committee is concerned that the biographical information gathered about aliens arriving at a port of entry may be insufficient to screen and vet individuals for potential security concerns. In a transcribed interview with Committee staff, a former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol explained that the vetting process has critical limitations, particularly if the aliens being screened come from countries that do not cooperate with the United States to share law enforcement data or the aliens simply ditch their true identification documents and create new, unverifiable identities.”
Read the full letter here.

In January 2024, DHS processed approximately 45,000 inadmissible aliens into the country using the CBP One app. Between January 2023 and the end of January 2024, over 450,000 inadmissible aliens “successfully scheduled appointments” through the app and were processed into the interior.
In October 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under threat of subpoena, finally provided documents in response to multiple requests by the Committee for information about the use of the app. These documents showed that 95.8 percent of all inadmissible aliens who scheduled appointments through the app between January and September 2023 were ultimately released into the United States. Release rates for individuals from adversarial nations like China, Russia, and Afghanistan all exceeded 88 percent. Just last month, CBS News reported that migrants have used the CBP One app 64 million times to request entry into the United States.
In February 2024, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors due to his refusal to comply with the laws passed by Congress and his breach of the public trust. This includes his defiance of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which allows parole to be granted only on a case-by-case and temporary basis, for significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian need.

Chairman Green and the House Committee on Homeland Security have warned of the dangers of the expanded use of the CBP One app for a year. In April 2023, the Committee introduced the Border Reinforcement Act to restrict the use of the CBP One app to its original intent—allowing for the efficient movement of commercial goods into the United States. This provision was included in the House-passed Secure the Border Act, H.R.2.