Home » TSA now requires migrants with insufficient IDs to undergo facial recognition check before flying

TSA now requires migrants with insufficient IDs to undergo facial recognition check before flying

by John Jefferson
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now requiring migrants who do not have sufficient ID to submit to facial recognition technology in order to board domestic flights — amid continued concern about screening from Republicans and others.

The agency told Fox News Digital in a statement that all adult travelers, “including noncitizens released after undergoing security vetting into the United States to await immigration proceedings, must present an acceptable form of ID to enter secure areas of an airport for onward travel.”  

“If a noncitizen released after undergoing security vetting into the United States does not have an acceptable form of ID, they must submit to additional screening and facial recognition technology to verify the traveler’s identity using DHS records,” a spokesperson said.


The agency says the procedure update was recent and not in response to a specific security threat. If such a person does not submit to the technology, or if TSA cannot match their identity to Department of Homeland Security records they will be denied boarding, the agency said.  Individuals who also do not have a match with the CBP One app, used as an appointment and document upload system at the border and elsewhere, will also be denied access.

The Associated Press, which first reported on the change in policy, said that advocacy groups had been told that migrants were turned away in South Texas. 

The issue of migrants boarding flights has been a regular source of controversy during the ongoing crisis at the southern border, where millions of migrants have been released or paroled into the U.S. 


The TSA had previously green-lit the use of civil arrest warrants and deportation orders to allow migrants — including those in the country illegally — to board planes. TSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have also been using CBP One to verify noncitizens’ identities to confirm they are who they say they are and that they have been vetted and processed by DHS. But images emerged earlier this year of signs at least one airport that said that individuals using CBP One may decline to have a photo taken. 

TSA logo on TSA officer shirt

The app, which is used to process migrants through ports of entry, allows users to upload biographical information as well as a photograph and schedule an appointment at a port of entry.

Officials have emphasized that anyone, including citizens, who do not have appropriate ID will also go through an extra vetting process and that it is not a special process for migrants. 

“The Department of Homeland Security works to detect and prevent individuals who pose national security or public safety risks from entering the secure areas of an airport to depart on a domestic flight or entering the United States upon arrival from another country,” a spokesman told Fox News Digital last month. “Recent reports that noncitizens have lower security bars for traveling on domestic flights are false. Noncitizens without acceptable forms of ID must undergo additional, more robust screenings to fly within the United States.” 

Officials have said that anyone who is identified as a public safety or national security threat it detained or turned over to another agency for investigation. 

But it has done little to stem the concerns of Republicans, who have said the practice “raises significant security concerns.” This week Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, introduced legislation that would strip airlines of their gate access at Reagan Washington National Airport if they “transport any alien using the CBP One Mobile Application for the purposes of identification.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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