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Senator Rubio: TSA must stop allowing illegal immigration

In January 2022, something incredible happened: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed that it allowed illegal immigrants to use arrest warrants as identification to board U.S. flights. No ID photo. No information verified. Just a piece of paper provided by the illegal immigrant.

This blatant mockery of American law immediately provoked indignation among sensible Americans. But two years later, the TSA policy remains unchanged. This shows how quickly important issues can go unnoticed.

Fortunately, this year’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill provides an opportunity to examine our government’s crazy flight rules to appease illegal immigrants. Congress’s goal is clear: We must prohibit the use of arrest warrants for identification purposes.

This task is even more urgent than it was in 2022. Since then, President Joe Biden has released approximately 7 million additional illegal immigrants into the United States, and we are on track to break new crossing records borders this year. In other words, the incentives that draw migrants from around the world to our doors, surely one of which is the freedom to fly across the country with nothing more than an application document from the U.S. Department of Security internal, are stronger than ever. This must change if we value our safety.

Newspaper headlines are full of stories about the Venezuelan prison gang Tren de Aragua, which is using our open border to expand its sex trafficking, murder, robbery and extortion rings into American cities. Then there is the danger posed by foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS, which facilitate illegal immigration for their own purposes.

FBI Director Christopher Wray admits the current threat of terrorist attacks is on a “whole new level.” At least one ISIS member appears to have evaded U.S. government detection for two years while seeking asylum. And how many other members of terrorist organizations have crossed the border undetected? Under this administration, we simply don’t know.

Denver Airport TSA Checkpoint
Airline passengers, some not wearing face masks following the end of Covid-19 public transportation rules, wait at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint to pass through security before boarding planes flights in the airport terminal of…


Patrick T. FALLON / AFP/Getty Images

This is concerning in itself, but it is particularly concerning in light of the TSA’s lax document policy. Legal U.S. citizens are subject to reasonable photo ID requirements when flying. But can illegal immigrants with potential ties to terrorist organizations or gangs settle for less? Maybe the Biden administration bureaucrats forgot why we instituted flight protections: because September 11, 2001, taught us how disastrous it can be to let the wrong people on planes .

Why has President Biden not reversed course on this misguided policy? Besides, why hasn’t he reinstated President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration or, at the very least, started enforcing existing laws? The sad reality is that Biden is unwilling to admit that Trump was right, and he is unable to stand up to the open borders extremists within the Democratic Party base.

This leaves the American people with the short end of the stick. While our commander in chief makes excuses for his inaction, working families must watch as migrants invade their communities, drain their public resources, cut their wages and put their safety at risk. And there’s only so much Congress can do, because even the strongest laws are ineffective when the president is unwilling to enforce them.

However, Congress can and should prohibit the use of arrest warrants to board flights. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Tex.) and I introduced the SECURE Flights Act to do just that. The Senate has an opportunity to address this issue as we review, debate, and hopefully amend the FAA reauthorization bill this week.

Securing flights against illegal immigrants and those this administration cannot or will not properly police is common sense to most Americans. However, Democrats have already signaled that they will block this fundamental reform. Only time will tell, but the American people deserve a sign that their leaders still care, and I hope my colleagues will agree to give them one.

Marco Rubio, a Republican, is Florida’s senior U.S. senator.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.