WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has joined his colleagues in demanding answers from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding recent reports that illegal immigrants are allowed to use Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest warrants as an acceptable solution. form of identification by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to board aircraft.
“The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for both enforcing our country’s immigration laws and keeping our country safe,” write the senators. “Allowing ICE arrest warrants to be used as travel documents is at best illogical, and at worst a serious threat to our country’s internal security.
“As Secretary of DHS, you are responsible for setting policy not only for the department as a whole, but for its component parts – including ICE and TSA,” continued the senators. “The decision to allow ICE arrest warrants to serve as authorized travel documents inherently places one component of the Department in unacceptable tension with another component. This tension threatens the safety and well-being of hardworking American citizens.
“We struggle to understand why the TSA would allow dangerous and criminal illegal aliens to use ICE arrest warrants to fly. This policy not only seems misguided, but also defies the purpose of these arrest warrants in the first place. Please answer these critical questions as soon as possible,” concluded the senators.
The letter is also signed by Sens. Thom Tillis (RN.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Braun ( R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
The full letter can be found here and below.
We are writing today about the alarming news that illegal immigrants are permitted to use Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest warrants as a form of identification acceptable to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for board planes. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for both enforcing national immigration laws and keeping our nation safe. Allowing ICE arrest warrants to be used as travel documents is at best illogical, and at worst a serious threat to our country’s internal security.
As Secretary of DHS, you are responsible for setting policy not only for the department as a whole, but for its components, including ICE and TSA. The decision to allow ICE arrest warrants to serve as authorized travel documents inherently places one component of the Department in unacceptable tension with another component. This tension threatens the safety and well-being of hardworking American citizens.
In response to a letter from our colleagues in the House of Representatives, TSA Administrator David Pekoske confirmed that the agency would accept, among other things, the ICE Form I-200 (alien arrest warrant). and ICE Form I-205 (Warrant of Removal/Deportation). The following language in each form is perfectly clear:
- ICE Form I-200: “YOU ARE ORDERED to arrest and take into custody for removal proceedings under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the aforementioned alien. (Emphasis in original)
- ICE Form I-205: “I, the undersigned officer of the United States, by virtue of the power and authority vested in the Secretary of Homeland Security under the laws of the United States and at his direction, direct you to take into custody and deport the aforementioned alien from the United States. . .”
According to the clear text of these documents, the only flights that these dangerous and criminal illegal immigrants should board are those that take them back to their country of origin.
We are deeply concerned that the use of ICE arrest warrants is motivated by the Biden administration’s inability or unwillingness to address the border crisis. Since President Biden took office, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has had nearly 2 million encounters with illegal immigrants since President Biden took office. In December 2021 alone, CBP had 178,840 encounters compared to 73,994 in December 2020, a 141% increase in encounters with illegal immigrants. This staggering increase is driven by President Biden’s decision to systematically dismantle effective enforcement policies that have helped secure our southern border and deter illegal immigrants.
It’s not just about securing our southern border to prevent illegal immigration. It is also about the danger to public safety posed by an uncontrolled border. For example, in June 2021, ICE reported that Operation Sex Offender Arrest and Removal led to the arrest of 302 foreign criminals for sex offenses.1 However, the Biden administration’s immigration policies continue to make our communities less safe.
In 2021, there have been various news stories from across the country about criminal strangers committing crimes in our communities. In June 2021, a Columbia High School student was shot dead by a dangerous criminal alien Yohan Hernandez who was living in the country illegally. 2 In October 2021, a Congolese national living in the United States with an expired visa was arrested for raping a woman on a train. 3 In another tragic case in October 2021, Yery Noel Medina, who falsely claimed to be an unaccompanied minor, was arrested and charged with the murder of a father of four who had taken him in.4
In 2014, the TSA confirmed that the agency had begun accepting Form I-862 (Notice to Appear) as acceptable identification for travel. It happened during your tenure as Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. We anticipate that your service under the Obama administration will mean you will be able to better understand the development of the practice of allowing ICE arrest warrants as acceptable documentation.
This is an urgent matter and we request a prompt response to the following questions no later than February 25, 2022:
- When did the TSA begin accepting the use of the ICE Form I-200 and ICE Form I-205 as acceptable forms of identification for travel?
- What is the rationale for allowing TSA agents to use ICE arrest warrants as identification?
- Was the decision to allow the use of ICE arrest warrants made by the TSA or by the Department? If the TSA made this decision, was the policy also approved by DHS?
- Was ICE consulted before the decision to allow the use of ICE arrest warrants was made? If so, what concerns has ICE raised about authorizing the use of arrest warrants? Did DHS and TSA consider these concerns when implementing this policy?
- Has DHS, ICE or TSA considered the threat to public safety created by allowing illegal immigrants to use ICE arrest warrants as travel documents? If so, why did the Ministry and its constituent agencies adopt this erroneous policy?
- More generally, why are those who have received an ICE arrest warrant allowed to fly all over the country rather than being deported for illegally crossing the border? Under what authority are they allowed to stay in the country?
- The TSA administrator also reportedly said that these “other identifiers are required and are subject to additional screening.” What does this additional screening mean and how does it protect the public from flying illegal immigrants with ICE arrest warrants?
- When using this practice, what additional steps has ICE taken to ensure that fraudulent ICE arrest warrants or other DHS forms are not used for travel?
- The TSA said 44,957 non-citizens and non-US nationals had their DHS-issued documents validated before being allowed to fly. Of those nearly 45,000 people, how many were using the ICE Form I-200 and the ICE Form I-205?
- How does the current policy of accepting Forms I-200 and I-205 as valid identification align with recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, which makes positive identification of every flyer a security priority interior?
- How does DHS confirm the identification of a person traveling with an I-200 or I-205 document if it does not contain photo identification?
- What information does DHS provide to TSA agents in the field when they are presented with I-200 or I-205 documents during airport security screening? Does this information include other outstanding arrest warrants, criminal activity, or other information relating to an individual’s potential threat to air travel?
We find it hard to understand why the TSA would allow dangerous and criminal illegal aliens to use ICE arrest warrants to steal. This policy not only seems misguided, but also defies the purpose of these arrest warrants in the first place. Please answer these critical questions as soon as possible.
# # #