Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley grilled the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Thursday for allowing migrants to use arrest warrants as a form of identification when flying across the country.
The TSA allows migrants to use the warrants as a form of identification while traveling through U.S. airports, according to a letter exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation in January. Under 1,000 migrants have used the civil arrest warrants or deportation notices as identification at airports, TSA Administrator David Pekoske told Hawley.
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“So we aren’t looking at whether a person is legal or illegal in the country,” Pekoske told Hawley at the Senate Homeland Security committee hearing for his re-nomination.
Hawley asked Pekoske for a reason for disregarding one’s legal status when screening migrants through TSA.
“Because our role is to make sure that people that might pose a risk to transportation that’s significant enough to either require enhanced screening or to not allow them to fly,” Pekoske responded.
“So your position is someone who is known to have violated the laws of the United States … you’re not concerned about the person’s security?,” Hawley asked.
Pekoske replied that there are travelers flying every day who have broken U.S. laws, but that the agency looks at what relates to transportation security.
“And you don’t think someone who is by definition, somebody who presents a warrant for arrest, you don’t think that that necessitates screening?,” Hawley questioned.
However, TSA argues that migrants are properly screened for potential national security threats.
“To confirm the identity of an individual and ensure they are not on the no-fly list or pose a known threat to public safety or national security, 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 TSA spokesperson told the DCNF.
“These forms are civil immigration violation documents, do not include criminal arrest 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,” the spokesperson added.
Hawley’s office didn’t respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.