US Immigration Officers Are Now Checking IDs On Domestic Flights?!

Well this is truly bizarre. Pictures are circulating from one of yesterday’s Delta flights between San Francisco and New York. Upon arrival in New York, passengers on DL1583 were met by (at least) two US Customs & Border Protection Agency officers, who allegedly demanded to see each passenger’s “documents.”

I’ve never seen CBP officers be engaged with a domestic flight in such a way, and can’t come up with any logical explanation for it either.

I’ve certainly seen police officers meet a domestic flight because they were looking for a specific passenger, and I’ve also seen CBP officers meet international flights to do passport checks (presumably because they were looking for someone)… but to have Customs & Border Protection agents meet a domestic flight is a completely different story.

As of now I haven’t seen any explanation from either the airline or CBP about what happened…

Update: Per Gothamist, the CBP has provided the following statement regarding this incident:

According to a CBP spokesman, the agency “was contacted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) yesterday, February 22, 2017, to assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583 from San Francisco International Airport to JFK. This individual was ordered removed by an immigration judge.”

“To assist our law enforcement partners, two CBP officers requested identification from those on the flight in order to help identify the individual,” he added. “The individual was determined not to be on the flight.”

Comments

  1. They have jurisdiction like 75 miles from the ocean, any port of entry, and the border, and JFK qualifies on two of those reasons.

  2. Legally speaking, the passengers especially US citizens have the right to refuse unauthorized ID check correct by unauthorized government departments without a court issued warrant, right? Isn’t that in the Constitution?

  3. This may be a stupid question, but is a driver’s license my document? I don’t travel with my passport domestically. Since we don’t have national ID cards, is this what they’re looking for?

  4. Was this the day where there was a lapse in JFK security where 11 or 12 people weren’t checked? Could it be tied to that?

  5. Apparently they were looking for someone to deport.

    http://gothamist.com/2017/02/23/jfk_domestic_flight_id_checks.php

    “According to a CBP spokesman, the agency “was contacted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) yesterday, February 22, 2017, to assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583 from San Francisco International Airport to JFK. This individual was ordered removed by an immigration judge.”

    “To assist our law enforcement partners, two CBP officers requested identification from those on the flight in order to help identify the individual,” he added. “The individual was determined not to be on the flight.”

    Remember that when you fly you pop up on the government’s radar.

  6. @ Mike Stuben

    Unlikely since these people were deplaning from SFO and would’ve cleared security there…

  7. @Sherlock Holmes unless they have reasonable suspicion that your are breaking the law, my understanding, is that you can refuse to show ID. There is no legal requirement in the US to carry an ID or even have an ID.

    I would demand to see a warrant and ask for the ground of the check before producing any ID. I really hope the ACLU picks this up because unless they have a specific name they are looking for and them stating that I match the description or a reasonable suspicion that I have broken the law.

    It is possible to travel without an ID so it is not unreasonable to assume someone does not have an ID: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification

  8. @bludevil; Yes. Whatever you showed TSA to get through security would suffice. But even if you have it, they can still detain you.

  9. I’ve been checked by CBP on board Greyhound Buses several times when I travelled to NYC from Buffalo/Rochester, NY, between 2010-2013 well before attacking Trump for immigration issues was popular.

    No need to panic.

  10. If you are a US Citizen you need to refuse this foolishness. This is not Nazi Germany! Politely refuse to provide your proof of citizenship.

  11. I for one am happy to have the privilege of proving my innocence to the authorities. /s

    Papers please? Seriously? Not a fan.

  12. @ John, you’re an idiot. As a legal resident alien, I almost never carry my green card while flying domestically. Most of the passengers would’ve had no proof of their legal status, and aren’t required to. CBP was searching for an individual, not “enforcing immigration law.”

  13. @Brad B – Unfortunately your understanding is incorrect with respect to the CBP at borders, airports, and other ports of entry. Refusing to show your ID upon request will likely just get you detained until your identity can be verified.

    The ACLU probably has materials available somewhere online for those interested in knowing their rights while st an airport.

  14. It’s my understanding they were not asking for proof of citizenship. They were asking for ID.If you are over the age of 18, you need ID to board a commercial plane in the first place. No rights are being violated by asking you to provide ID to board a plane.

    If you’re not comfortable traveling with ID, maybe you should forgo traveling by commercial airline. You should also not drive a car, since you need an ID (Driver’s Licence) to drive a car. I believe that you need a government-issued ID to travel by Amtrak. Greyhound may still be an option for you…

  15. I work at a major US airport and this has occured as far back since I started in 1980s.

    CBP, ICE, DEA, US Marshals do meet flights occasionally either looking for either specific people, smugglers or illegal aliens being trafficked across the US. Same can occur at departure gates as well.

    Hardly new events.

  16. Republicans are already breaking promises. This is what was promised:

    Ban abortion.
    Complete immunity to cops to shoot blacks in the street.
    Repeal of ACA, so that free loading poor schmucks die in the streets quickly.

    Fulfill your promises republicans. Hope you live long enough till the next elections liberals. LOVE IT.

  17. @Susan Actually, that is not correct. While having an ID is the easiest way to prove your identity, there are alternative means by which your identity can be established. There is no requirement to have a valid ID to be cleared through security.

    Also, the officers were not asking for ID to BOARD a flight; they were asking for ID to DEBOARD a flight.

  18. @Susan – “If you are over the age of 18, you need ID to board a commercial plane in the first place.”

    In spite of TSA advertisements to the contrary, there is no legal requirement to present ID to travel by common commercial air carrier in the US. Thanks for volunteering to give up your right to freedom of travel free of government interference, though!

  19. Nobody seems to ask the obvious, or maybe I’m just being dense. Why didn’t they just check the plane passenger manifest, see if that person was on board, and if so, just come up to their seat at the gate to apprehend them (while asking everyone else to stay seated).

  20. Again, despite not liking our current situation this is just one more example of hyping up the rhetoric. The statement is clear by CBP. Not a big deal and has probably occurred numerous times over the years,

    And Lucky, I am getting a bit distracted with your blog and all this hype. I am not a Trump supporter by any means but I would prefer to come here for bits on moisturizing pajamas and upgrades to the Emirates on board bar. Not to be shallow but really, I get my news from the Post and NYT and I am good with that. I want more Krug.

  21. I don’t have a problem with this as long as everyone on the plane was stopped and checked ID. The problem I have is shouldn’t they know the name of the person if some how they got a hit/tip off? And since all passengers were confined to plane, easy to check flight manifest instead to find person sitting in 29D. If the suspect traveled on false ID for some reason, they would be passing through this check as well. No wonder CBP costs as much as it does to tax payers, leaky walls!

  22. I get it. If I have nothing to hide, whats the big deal? I’m guilty until i prove myself innocent, no big deal, right?

    BULLSHIT! As an American citizen i find it disgusting that I have to prove my own innocence!

  23. @tda you can’t refuse to show a passport to CBP when arriving in the USA at an airport when it is your port or entry, however this was not a port of entry as it was a domestic flight. Also what grounds would they have to detain you if they did not have a reasonable suspicion? I would be well within my right for them to tell me why I was being asked for ID and what reasonable suspicion they have for checking my identity.

  24. @mike Murphy

    When the government is abusing their powers and don’t have a warrant it reasonable suspicion to check your ID I would refuse to show my ID. As a US citizen obeying the law CBP does not need to know where I am chosing to travel for what reasons or anything else.

  25. @ Kurt — I agree with you. It’s not like it was a Southwest flight where the supposed passenger could have been sitting anywhere. But I’m also not sure if Delta can be compelled to provide a manifest on the completion of a domestic itinerary without a warrant?

  26. @jamesb2147 & @keith – apparently I’ve given up my rights too easily – I believed that TSA party-line that I needed ID to get through security at an airport. 🙁

    Would you mind sharing what you use to get through security if you don’t use ID? Or is it a big secret?

  27. AND the rest of the world laughs at a nation founded by immigrants that’s now trying to deport the backbone of the country…

    Will they include Mrs Trump and ex-Mrs Trump too?

  28. Pretty evident that they were on a fishing trip or they would have been able to use the passenger manifest to know whether the person they were looking for was on the plane. I would guess that there will be a lot of these “individuals” that ICE will ask them to look for on flights coming out of California, Arizona, etc. Trapped on an airplane is a pretty good place to find illegals where they can’t get away, even if they aren’t the “individual” they were looking for.

  29. From the Mexicans working in a pizzaria in New Jersey, They told me in 1998, flights from San diego to Newark, “La Migra” was waiting for them and doing randomly checking.

    The coiotes were not dispatching the people straight from San diego to the East Coast.

    To me, it is old news.

  30. And Trump has only been in office a month. Be afraid, Americans. Be very afraid. I am SO glad my husband and I moved from my native California to Canada 12 years ago. Best decision we ever made. Currently awaiting my Canadian citizenship, I am DONE with the United States.

  31. I have seen this on many flights even with the above poster in fact most have happened in san diego post 9/11 is nothing new. This has happened to me 2 times I believe they can’t give out flight info either I’m not an attorney but I’m pretty sure that is correct. Seems legit

  32. This is a non starter story, and no news. I’m tired of people asking if “this is new? Or because of trump?” Get real people, immigration laws have been enforced for decades if not centuries it’s not NEW. And asking for an ID is not asking for proof of Citizenship.

    Sometimes domestic flights are met by law enforcement. CBP officers have much more authority than just stamping your passport… they are law enforcement officers. You show ID to TSA to board the plane…

  33. When Trump (well Bannon, I’m not sure Trump has the attention span to create such a policy…) has attempted to bar US residents from entering the country indefinitely and without notice, the argument to “just comply without question” is well and truly voided.

  34. Here is where the white privilege comes into play: those of us that are white aren’t going to be checked. Betting that all checked were of another racial background. Welcome to the world we now live, the orange man has to prove his point and is going to make life here just as ugly as him and his followers are inside.

  35. Gestapo did this all the time during WW ll. You guys are living in a fascist state and don’t even realize it. I’ve never seen as many unuforms all over the place as in the US.

  36. @Martin-you sound like Sgt Shultz from Hogan’s Heroes. “I see nothing, I hear nothing”. Grow some balls and when something stinks, say it. Stop being so milk toast. People like you are how Hitler took on so much power.

  37. @ Super VC10,
    The reason Canada gets to be Canada is because the United States of America HAS to be the United States of America. Did it ever occur to you that all the moralizing sanctimony and progressivism from north of the border wouldn’t be possible if they actually had to provide for their own defense? Or even the 2% required by NATO?

  38. I’m old enough to remember when Mitt Romney was Hitler. Before that, John McCain was Hitler. Even before that George Bush was BushHitler. So many Hitlers, and yet still no concentration camps. That only happened under FDR…

    The Obama Administration set historical records for the numbers of illegals deported year after year. But of course that was different because: Obama. But I’m sure someone will point out that I’m missing the “nuance”.

  39. @indian, generally speaking, the state of CA is not a stop-and-ID state (unless you’re driving on public roads). You do have to identify yourself when detained but you don’t need an ID to do that. However, the state statue does not cover territory that is within 100 miles of a border or at airports with international connections. That falls under the jurisdiction of CBP. They have the authority to stop and search any person without probable cause. This process has been upheld by the Supreme Court going back to the 70’s. Apropos, this also happens at sea for any US vessel (no matter where it is in the world) or any vessel that enters US waters. The Coast Guard can board and search the vessel for any reason at any time (though they’re usually not as dickish as this statement sounds).

    I’d imagine if you refused to show ID to the agents, you will be detained and all your belongings will be searched until they find what they’re looking for (either ID or a crime).

    Good luck to those who refuse to show ID at an airport, case law won’t be on your side.

  40. Funny how up until last month, events like these would be criticized as unconstitutional and the actions of a dictator, remember, from that black guy who was “illegitimately” occupying the White house…

    Now all is good, and Executive Orders galore are now just the actions of a “legitimate” white guy occupying the White House – I guess we can say these are not actions of a dictator, just of a dick…

  41. @nativeamerican: I respectfully disagree.

    “Despite federal law allowing certain federal agents to conduct search and seizures within 100 miles of the border into the interior of the United States,[5] the Supreme Court has clearly and repeatedly confirmed that the border search exception applies only at international borders and their functional equivalent (such as international airports).[4](citing United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 562-563(1976))”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_search_exception

    While it is tempting to jump to the conclusion that JFK meets this criteria because it is an airport, it does not actually meet the test of a functional equivalent of crossing the border because the flight itself was not international.

    “Whatever the permissible scope of intrusiveness of a routine border search might be, searches of this kind may in certain circumstances take place not only at the border itself, but at its functional equivalents as well. For example, searches at an established station near the border, at a point marking the confluence of two or more roads that extend from the border, might be functional equivalents of border searches. For another example, a search of the passengers and cargo of an airplane arriving at a St. Louis airport after a nonstop flight from Mexico City would clearly be the functional equivalent of a border search.”
    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6933260753627774699

    Notice the express citation that the flight meeting the standard was international.

  42. @Susan, if you don’t have an ID you answer questions about yourself based on historical information (streets or counties you’ve lived in, cars you’ve owned etc.– basically information from public databases) to prove your identity. Happened to us while our car got broken on a road trip and my wife’s license was stolen. Had to do this to get to our flight.

  43. @ Robert Hanson — Nope, no disagreement on that one! Just would also add that many people referred to Obama as a dictator/tyrant/what have you as well, it’s not a denigration specific to one side. 😉

  44. This is the USA–we can ASK ANYONE ANYTIME for ID, especially on planes.

    The snowflakes wanting terrorists to come and go freely to the US–those Obmada days are over.

    WE ARE A COUNTRY OF LAWS!

  45. Unfortunately, those Obama days are over. Now we have the trump days where every other sentence is a lie and his administration doesn’t know what his positions are from day to day. What a clustermuck. As for the snowflake comments I see on the internet, liberals are not the ones hiding under their beds every time someone mentions the word Muslim. You, dear boy, are the snowflake.

  46. @Kneemuh

    The 100 mile border zone which the CBP has the authority to conduct search and seizures includes the entire border of the US, not just the border shared with other nations (ie Mexico, Canada). JFK meets that criteria (as well as the majority of NY state).

    https://www.aclu.org/other/constitution-100-mile-border-zone

    “Specifically, federal regulations give U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. “external boundary.”

  47. It’s rather amusing how so many right wing nutters are too terrified to leave the house without carrying weapons and live in constant fear of being attacked by immigrants or Muslims, yet the people who are scared of neither are the “snowflakes”.

    Presumably it won’t be too long until the sheep find a new meaningless buzzword to use.

  48. As @James has posted, this is *NOT* new. It went on under Clinton, Bushie Jr, Obama, and continues today.

    What is new is that any time CBP does their job, the media somehow makes it about Trump.

    Not a huge fan of Trump, but the media pissing themselves over everything is getting old.

  49. @Peter N: “AND the rest of the world laughs at a nation founded by immigrants that’s now trying to deport the backbone of the country…”

    Some here have been brainwashed to the levels never seen before. Incredible.
    “Backbone of the country”? Those who committed a crime are a backbone of this country?

  50. Lucky, do you want to carry on with the comfortable life you lead? Then I respectfully suggest that you let the security services do their job. I would not decline to help a uniformed person who clearly has the authority to do what they are doing. I wish all you Americans would stop second guessing what is right and wrong. If you don’t like a law get Congress to change it. Just let the true professionals get on with their work in the real world I live in. It seems like every American with a voice wants to question people in power. And as a Brit I find every liberal PCer who thinks it is OK to be living illegally in the US without challenge is a moron. It does not happen. It is a mockery of US law to permit illegal residence. And it insults every legal immigrant who has taken the long and arduous path to residency. Now what were you saying about law enforcement by Homeland Security?

  51. @nativeamerican: In your original post, you mentioned case law was not on our side. My only point was that that statement was factually incorrect.

    “…the Supreme Court has clearly and repeatedly confirmed that the border search exception applies only at international borders and their functional equivalent…”

  52. @kneemuh: No where in the citation does it say that the border exception searchs can ONLY happen at international borders or it’s functional equivalent:

    “Whatever the permissible scope of intrusiveness of a routine border search might be, searches of this kind may in certain circumstances take place not only at the border itself, but at its functional equivalents as well. For *273 example, searches at an established station near the border, at a point marking the confluence of two or more roads that extend from the border, might be functional equivalents of border searches. For another example, a search of the passengers and cargo of an airplane arriving at a St. Louis airport after a nonstop flight from Mexico City would clearly be the functional equivalent of a border search.[4]”

  53. Well Ben, welcome to the world of domestic ‘immigration checks’. I have seen them at BRO (Brownsville, Texas) after passing security and just before boarding starts, Border Patrol Officers demanding to know if one was either a US Citizen, Permanent Resident or Visitor. They requested proof of status from some Mexican Nationals who were lined up for the flight to Houston.

    I certainly don’t travel internally in the US with my passport, but now with the ‘Secure Id” program, at least in Texas, your driver’s license file has a provision for if you are a citizen or not, and if not what’s the person’s legal status in the US. I would assume this is ALL part of the new Trump Administration directive to ‘Protect America’. so, let it be known!

  54. @nativeamerican
    What the court held is that “Border Exception” is only applicable at international borders & equivalent”. That is, you can search and seizures without probable cause and warrant. However, outside these areas, CBP officers need probable cause to search an individual.

  55. First of all, if you have nothing to hide what does it matter. I am proud to show my ID and feel safe knowing that someone is actually paying attention. With credit card fraud on the rise, it’s nice to have a second line of security so my account doesn’t get drained again. With airplane flights, they should be checking IDs so we can TRY to avoid more attacks on our country and proof of your identity is an attempt to combat that.

    It seems like many people would rather our country be unsafe than be inconvenienced for anything. Carrying you ID is required in most states and should be the law in all of them. Freedom is for citizens and proof of citizenship is your ID. If you are visiting, have your papers or passport. Small price to pay in my opinion but then again, I know what other countries are like having been to most of them. We aren’t even close to infringing on people’s privacy compared to the rest of the country.

    Get your heads out of the clouds. Carry your IDs. Be proud to prove you belong here. Because if you don’t belong here, well, you know what you can do…

  56. Australian author Mem Fox was detained by immigration officials in LA enroute to a conference in Milwaukee. Looks like a major SNAFU similar to the previously reported ones. This woman is a much-loved writer of books for children, has visited the US more than 100 times. Well-known for dangerous subversive books with hidden Islamic sub-text: Possum Magic, Sleepy Bears, Time for Bed, Where is the Green Sheep?, Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes.
    Seriously, if they detain Mem Fox then no one is safe from this lunacy.

  57. @Paolo – Seriously, if they detain Mem Fox then no one is safe from this lunacy.”

    Do you really think CBP officers at LAX would have any clue who the hell she is? What would her fame in Australia have anything to do with this?

  58. @BrianL
    No, I’m suggesting that they are CLUELESS and that the application of the executive order has become farcical. Intimidation and harassment, or at least the potential for it, has become the new ‘normal’
    This woman is 71, has been to the US 116 times, had the correct visa and yet was detained for ‘vetting’ by threatening, armed police officers in some dark room ( maybe room 101?). It’s pathetic and disgraceful.
    It could never happen to me…until it does.

  59. ROFL. The best comment by far was the guy who stated his rights to bring up the Constitution to a border patrol agent.

    Listen folks, you don’t HAVE to pay your car registration every year, you don’t HAVE to have insurance, you don’t HAVE to have an established domicile ( can always use airport and bus terminal lockers) , and you don’t HAVE to show your ID ( valid and current) when asked while using United States ( AMERICAN) transportation systems.

    You have a choice.

    Now like we said STFU, or GTFO.

  60. Hey Pablo,

    Nobody is harassing you asking you to show your proof of insurance when you go to the DMV to register a motor vehicle.

    Can we dispense with all the friviolous lawsuits in like a month or two?

    Case dismissed.

    Yeah your last guy was a failed “constitutional” scholar as well.

    Go organize your seamstress supplies.

  61. What cracks me up is all the Equal rights people physically attacking Milo’s opinions, and being TOTALLY for a policy that reserves Hawaii ( 1 of 50 ) almost exclusively for the Left Coast.

    Don’t worry folks, if it means we have to layover in your nonsense, we’ll pass.

    Beaches are nicer on this side anyway.

  62. Oh and what;s the Freaking difference? Due to Newsom , until we actually get to the business of amending the document ( which is coming) MILLIONS are in possession of valid U.S. travel documents anyway.

    Wait til we verify whether or not you should ACTUALLY be in possession of that document at all.

    Then you’ll really be pissed.

    Honey Badger doesn’t ….. Finish the sentence.

    The Only UBER ALLES comes from a Dead Kennedy’s song.

  63. Hey I’ve got an Idea. Create a Trolling Fake News Network, then open a bank (or several) , then get yourself a job where your check comes properly funded by the Feds, then do the following;

    1) Bite the hand that feeds you ….. HARD.
    2) Open up hundreds of thousands of fake accounts collecting the commissions on each.
    3) Openly taunt everybody that’s not you about all the cool stuff you are, and they aren’t.
    4) Call everybody who doesn’t agree with you a Hater while you spend Taxpayer money on private vacation homes.
    5) Bring back the Black Ball list in Hollywood only THIS time Hollywood plays the part of McCarthy.

    6) And if all else fails, edit and Censor your comments sections because when push comes to shove you actually practice what you preach when it comes to the all revered “CONSTITUTION” only when it fits into your oddball circle jerk.

  64. In summation, for the greater part of the last 50 years, we’ve tried things YOUR way.

    In complete summation , we rightfully conclude ,

    YOUR WAY SUCKS

  65. Josh, back when I had a green card, I was legally required to carry it with me at all times, 24/7.

    In practice I carried a photocopy of it for fear of losing it. But I was aware of the risk.

    I would definitely take the green card on any flight even if domestic

  66. The D.C. bus that I was riding on one evening on 16th Street NW was stopped. And men in suits came aboard the bus and demanded to see our ID’s. After their check was completed, the bus was allowed to continue. It certainly put a damper on the passengers, including me.

    What I dread is the knock on my door at night with police cars in my driveway. Not that I’ve done anything illegal, but that’s not the point.

    The point is that President Trump uses Twitter and Executive Orders to threaten and intimidate and bully those whom he doesn’t like. And sh*t flows down from there.

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