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FIRST ON FOX: Senate Republicans have written to the Biden administration requesting information about the Transportation Security Administration’s practice of allowing illegal immigrants to use civil immigration warrants as identification and warning that this practice poses a security threat.
“Allowing the use of ICE arrest warrants as travel documents is at best illogical, and at worst a serious threat to our nation’s homeland security,” wrote 10 U.S. senators led by Sen. Thom Tillis, RN.C. ., to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro. Mayorkas.
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The letter is signed by Tillis, as well as Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; Roger Marshall, R-Kansas; 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 TSA confirmed to Fox News that it allows warrants, which represent civil immigration enforcement and are not criminal arrest warrants, as an alternative. The daily caller first reported the TSA’s response to a congressional inquiry into the matter by Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas.
“For non-citizens and non-U.S. nationals who do not otherwise have acceptable identification to present at security checkpoints, the TSA may also accept certain DHS-issued forms, including ICE Form I -200,” a TSA spokesperson told Fox News. This is a civil immigration arrest warrant.
The agency added that the document will then be validated through an “alien identification number” which involves checking personally identifiable information against a number of Customs and Border Protection databases ( CBP), including the CBP One mobile app and the TSA’s National Transportation Vetting Center (NTVC).
“To confirm an individual’s identity and ensure that they are not on the no-fly list or pose a known threat to public safety or national security, the TSA verifies the identity of each traveler before they are allowed to enter the secure area of an airport,” a later statement from the TSA said.
“Non-citizens without a standard identification form may instead present certain DHS-issued forms to a TSA agent. These forms are civil immigration violation documents, do not include warrants for criminal arrest and do not indicate a threat to public safety or national security.”
The practice of accepting alternate forms of IDs from illegal immigrants predates the Biden administration, with the letter noting that the I-862 (notice to appear) was lit green as ID acceptable under the Obama administration in 2014.
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But Republican lawmakers have expressed particular bewilderment over the use of the arrest warrants, which explicitly include a command for immigration authorities “to arrest and take into custody for removal proceedings.” the immigrant. They linked the policy to the ongoing crisis on the southern border.
“We are deeply concerned that the use of ICE arrest warrants is motivated by the Biden administration’s inability or unwillingness to resolve the border crisis,” they wrote, linking the crisis to “the President Biden’s decision to systematically dismantle effective enforcement policies”. who helped secure our southern border and deter illegal immigrants.”
More than 178,000 migrants were encountered at the border in December alone, and about 2 million in 2021. Lawmakers note a number of criminal incidents involving illegal immigrants, as well as more than 300 sex offenders arrested by ICE, as evidence of the dangers of an “uncontrolled border”.
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They ask the administration for information, including when the I-200 was first authorized by the TSA as an ID, the rationale for the policy, information on how the policy was approved , what additional verification methods are taken and why these immigrants are allowed to fly rather than deported.
“This policy not only appears to be misguided, but also defies the purpose of these arrest warrants in the first place,” they claim.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.