Passengers who had been flying on domestic Delta Airlines flight 1583 from San Francisco to New York were left surprised after border patrol agents from the Customs and Border Protection Agency arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport and asked to see their identity documents.
Rolling Stone reported that CBP officers are considered border agents, and they generally only deal with passengers that are flying internationally. However, on Wednesday night these border patrol agents were standing next to the door of the Delta Airlines jet that had just arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport and were stopping passengers on their way off the plane and asking to see their identity papers.
A spokesperson for the Customs and Border Patrol agency told Rolling Stone that this is nothing that is new and said that there was “no new policy” that was getting them to stop domestic passengers at airports. That stance has been questioned as this occurred just one day after the Department of Homeland Security published plans to bring to fruition President Trump’s recent executive order which focuses on deporting “removable aliens” from the United States.
Social media was filled with stories from Delta Flight 1583, and one passenger named Anne Garrett posted on Twitter that she had been stopped by border patrol agents and was made to show them her identification as proof that she was a legal resident of the United States.
“We were told we couldn’t disembark without showing our ‘documents.'”
Matt O’Rourke was another passenger of the Delta Airlines flight and when he spoke with Rolling Stone he echoed Anne Garrett, by saying that he too had been asked to show his identity documents to border patrol agents at John F. Kennedy Airport. He stated that he was told that he would have to show his papers to Customs and Border Patrol agents who were waiting outside the plane.
O’Rourke spoke of what happened with the border patrol agents, calling it “quite alarming,” and relayed that they looked at his identification for perhaps around 30 seconds and then they let him continue on his journey. Afterwards he found himself puzzled as he was under the impression that customs agents only scrutinized passengers traveling in from other countries and not domestic passengers.
My flight from SFO to JFK. We were told we couldn’t disembark without showing our “documents.” pic.twitter.com/9ugQspTqeX
— Anne Garrett (@annediego) February 23, 2017
The spokesperson from the Customs and Border Patrol Agency who spoke with Rolling Stone gave them a statement to say that their mission had been to “assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583.” They stated that a judge had ordered the individual, if found, to be removed from the plane. However, the person in question was determined to not be on the flight in the end.
As many were shocked that border patrol agents would detain domestic passengers on the Delta Airlines flight to John F. Kennedy Airport, the Customs and Border Patrol Agency were also asked to clarify what kind of authority they had to ask travelers for identity papers.
The spokesperson for CBP cited 19 C.F.R. 162.6 as the article that gave them the authority to stop and question domestic passengers.
“All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer. CBP has the authority to collect passenger name record information on all travelers entering or leaving the United States.”
When the Customs and Border Patrol agency were further questioned as to whether they were simply requesting that domestic passengers show identification or whether it was a demand on the part of border patrol agents, the spokesperson only said that all travelers should comply with law enforcement officials at all times.
“It is always best to cooperate with law enforcement, so as to expedite your exiting the airport in a timely manner.”
Do you think border patrol agents from the Customs and Border Patrol Agency should be detaining domestic passengers as they did on Delta Flight 1583 from San Francisco to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York?
[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]