Exclusive–Ron Johnson: U.S. Airports Risk Being ‘Exploited Avenue for Illegal Immigration, Terrorism’ Under Biden

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 28: Passengers pass through O'Hare airport during the start
Scott Olson/Getty Images

American airports risk becoming an “easily exploited avenue for illegal immigration and terrorism” as inadmissible travelers are released into the United States interior and many never return for their deportation flights, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) writes in a letter exclusively shared with Breitbart News.

Inadmissible travelers are those foreign nationals who are denied entry into the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents for any number of reasons.

Typically, CBP and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) keep inadmissible travelers detained while they await their deportation flights, but they are sometimes released into the U.S. interior and asked to return for their flight on another day.

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report recently revealed that nearly 67,000 inadmissible travelers were identified at U.S. airports from October 2021 through May 2023. Almost 400 of these inadmissible travelers were released into the U.S. interior from just one undisclosed airport and nearly half did not return for their deportation flights.

“The report also found that CBP failed to follow required procedures for 77 of the at least 168 inadmissible travelers who failed to show up for their removal flight,” Johnson wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas:

According to the OIG report, if an inadmissible traveler does not return for their removal flight, “CBP issues a notice to appear in immigration court (NTA).” However, for the 77 inadmissible travelers identified by OIG as having failed to return for their removal flights, CBP did not issue the required NTA. CBP reportedly failed to issue these NTAs because it lacked an “effective process to track which inadmissible travelers failed to return for their removal flights,” and because it failed to staff enough agents “responsible for issuing NTAs.” [Emphasis added]

CBP was not the only DHS component the OIG report identified as contributing to this glaring security lapse. The OIG report found that ICE leadership reportedly instructed officers on multiple occasions to “deny CBP overnight detention requests before removal flights because of staffing and bed space limitations.” ICE leadership reportedly based this instruction on the additional “time-consuming” paperwork and medical screening that is required to detain inadmissible travelers overnight. Further, although the local jail that houses ICE’s detention center for this airport is equipped with 540 beds, the report found that ICE only has access to about 80 of those beds. When bed space requests were denied, CBP “could not consistently detain inadmissible travelers overnight at the airport” because they did not “have an overnight shift or sufficient overtime hours” to ensure regular overnight detention. Transfer to another international airport was found to be unreliable, as it required coordinating with the airlines and agents at the receiving CBP field office. [Emphasis added]

Read the full letter here:

Ron Johnson Letter to Mayorkas by John Binder

Johnson is asking Mayorkas to provide details on inadmissible travelers, including those who remain in the U.S. interior after failing to appear for their scheduled deportation flights, among other internal information.

“This security lapse must be fixed so that American airports do not become yet another easily exploited avenue for illegal immigration and terrorism,” Johnson wrote.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here.


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