Republican Bill Aims to Ban Illegal Immigrants Without ID From Boarding Flights

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
April 12, 2024Border Security
Republican Bill Aims to Ban Illegal Immigrants Without ID From Boarding Flights
US Border Patrol agents process illegal immigrants near the US–Mexico border fence in Campo, Calif., on April 3, 2024. (David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images)

House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) has unveiled a bill that would prohibit illegal immigrants from boarding commercial flights into and within the United States without valid identification.

“Allowing illegal immigrants to abuse commercial airline travel is unacceptable,” Mr. Green said in a statement on April 11, in which he announced the draft House legislation, titled the “Verifying that all Aliens have Legitimate Identification Documents Act,” or the “VALID Act.”

“While Americans must show proper identification to board their flights, illegal immigrants are not required to do so,” Mr. Green continued, adding that the measure is a direct challenge to the Biden administration’s decision to validate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) One mobile app as an acceptable form of identification for air travel into and across the United States.

Estimates vary as to the number of illegal immigrants flown into the country on grounds of the CBP One app, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who introduced similar legislation in the Senate not long ago, putting the figure at about 200,000 people.

“Every American needs to show ID to enter our country,” Mr. Lee said in an April 11 statement. “So why do we make it simpler for illegal immigrants to come in than for our own people?”

While blaming President Joe Biden and his administration’s policies for “encouraging illegal immigration and compromising our nation’s security” amid record numbers of illegal border crossings, the Republican senator said that the VALID Act would close “the loopholes that have allowed 200,000 illegal immigrants into the country unchecked.”

What Does the VALID Act Do?

The new draft measure prohibits the acceptance of CBP One as a legal form of identification for illegal immigrants at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints and for boarding planes.

It also bars the use of a Notice to Appear (NTA) or a Notice to Report (NTR) as legal forms of identification for use at TSA checkpoints and for boarding airplanes by illegal immigrants.

The VALID Act also prohibits aircraft from foreign countries that accept the above documents as valid forms of identification from flying into the United States.

“The Biden administration is recklessly allowing migrants to use the CBP One app or even their Border Patrol arrest documents as identification,” Mr. Green said in a statement.

“This puts Americans at risk,” he added.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not comment on the draft bill.

However, The Epoch Times has learned on background that DHS requires illegal immigrants without an acceptable form of identification to submit to additional screening and facial recognition technology via the CBP One app to verify their identity using DHS records.

Refusal to be subjected to facial recognition technology, or individuals that don’t have a match in the CBP One app, are denied boarding as a matter of principle.

The app is part of the Biden administration’s push to encourage illegal immigrants to use “legal” pathways to enter the United States. However, some Republicans and immigration policy groups argue that its use lends a veneer of legality to what is fundamentally an unlawful admissions process.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) called it a “legally dubious program” while estimating that the use of the CBP One app is “responsible for almost invisibly importing by air 320,000 aliens with no legal right” into the United States.

‘Smokescreen’ for Mass Release?

Homeland Security Republicans revealed in October 2023 that they had obtained information about the use of the CBP One app from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) following what they said was “months of stonewalling.”

The documents—which cover the period between Jan. 12, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2023—show that 278,431 appointments were scheduled for “inadmissible aliens” using the CBP One app.

Of these, 266,846 individuals were issued NTAs and released into the United States on parole.

“Secretary Mayorkas has utterly abused the CBP One app in his quest for open borders,” Mr. Green said in a statement at the time.

“These numbers are proof that Mayorkas’ operation is a smokescreen for the mass release of individuals into this country who would otherwise have zero claim to be admitted,” he added.

The DHS has defended the use of the app, calling it an example of how the Biden administration has “expanded access to lawful and orderly pathways and processes” for entry into the United States while insisting it “continues to apply strengthened consequences for unlawful and unauthorized entry.”

The Biden administration says that the app provides a direct way for individuals to request their own appointments and so reduces the potential for human traffickers and smugglers to profit by exploiting illegal immigrants.

It comes as record numbers of illegal immigrants have poured into the country under President Biden’s watch.

Official estimates put the number of illegal immigrants who entered the United States since President Biden took office at around 9 million.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said recently that the true figure is closer to 16 million.

From The Epoch Times

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