At the Tucson International Airport this week, migrants who were recently released by the Border Patrol experienced a different kind of airport security process, diverging from the standard identification requirements usually imposed on U.S. citizens and legally admitted international travelers. These migrants, many of whom lacked conventional forms of identification, were ushered through a “special” security screening line set up by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), designed specifically for non-citizens without standard IDs.
Breitbart Texas reported observing these migrants, who were preparing to board flights to various destinations including LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York. They carried manila envelopes containing Notices to Appear and documents that proved their release from federal custody on their own recognizance. Despite the absence of photographic identification or inclusion in the TSA’s list of acceptable IDs, these migrants were processed through a dedicated TSA checkpoint for “non-U.S. citizens without passports.”
Volunteers from non-government migrant shelters escorted the migrants, assisting them in navigating the airport’s layout and guiding them through the ticketing, baggage, and security areas. The existence of this special TSA line for migrants without standard identification represents an adaptation in security procedures to accommodate the unique circumstances of these individuals.
This event at the Tucson airport is a reflection of the broader challenges facing U.S. border authorities amidst a surge in migrant crossings. With Border Patrol facilities operating beyond capacity, the system has been strained to efficiently process and release a large number of migrants into the country, where they can pursue asylum claims. Despite this situation, the TSA’s modified procedures for migrants raised concerns about consistency in security measures and the implications of allowing individuals to board flights without standard forms of identification.
In addition to the operational challenges at the border, the Border Patrol apprehended nearly 190,000 migrants entering the United States illegally at the southern border in November alone. This figure illustrates the magnitude of the migrant influx, significantly impacting the Tucson Border Patrol Sector, which continues to lead the southwest border in apprehensions. The sector reported nearly 119,000 migrant apprehensions during October and November, with more than 17,000 migrants crossing into the sector in a single week in December.