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EXCLUSIVE: Republican Lawmakers Demand Answers From Mayorkas Regarding DHS Documents TSA Allows Migrants To Use As ID

Jennie Taer 

Republican lawmakers have demanded the Biden administration answer questions regarding alternate forms of identification the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it accepts from migrants traveling throughout the country.

Republican Texas Rep. Lance Gooden, along with 21 other Republican lawmakers, sent a letter Wednesday to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas raising concerns over a number of DHS documents migrants can use as identification, including certain arrest warrants, and the methods through which they are vetted.

The letter, exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, also seeks information on how border patrol agents and others are able to verify a migrant’s identity when issuing the documents in the first place.

“Numerous reports have confirmed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is allowing undocumented migrants on U.S. commercial airlines without proper identification,” the lawmakers’ letter stated. “After requesting more information from TSA, they have confirmed undocumented migrants have been permitted to fly without identification and cited documents provided by your agency that were deemed sufficient. We are seeking more information on these documents. TSA claims are sufficient for identification and the use of the CBP One™ Mobile Application.”

The DCNF recently obtained a letter that TSA Administrator David Pekoske sent to Rep. Gooden’s office that included a list of DHS documents airport security accepts as alternate forms of identification, which included an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Warrant for Arrest of an Alien” and a “Warrant of Removal/Deportation.”

The administrative warrants are signed by ICE officials who believe a person should be removed from the country.

Pekoske’s letter said that TSA relies on agencies like CBP and ICE, which issue the DHS documents used as identification, to ensure that the person given the documentation is who they say they are. Gooden earlier told the DCNF that a border agent said “they often have to take migrants at their word that they are who they say they are.”

“TSA’s response was both inadequate and misleading, with Administrator Pekoske claiming travelers that do not have documentation included on TSA’s acceptable forms of ID list must provide two additional forms of ID,” the lawmakers wrote Wednesday. “These additional forms must include information like name, photo, address, social security number, phone number, and birth date.”

The lawmakers said TSA has ruled certain alternative documents as insufficient. According to the lawmakers, “there have been numerous reports of TSA allowing illegal immigrants onto domestic flights without any acceptable form of ID.”

In Pekoske’s earlier letter to Gooden, he stated that TSA uses the National Transportation Vetting Center (NTVC) database and CBP One mobile application to verify the DHS documents migrants can present to airport security.

The NTVC processed 45,577 non-citizens and non-U.S. nationals using DHS documents as identification, and verified 44,947 of them between Jan. 1, 2021, and Oct. 31, 2021, according to Pekoske’s letter. TSA used CBP One 60,000 times during that 10-month period.

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