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DHS Stops Sending Air Marshals on Migrant Welfare Missions along Mexican Border

Thanks to pressure from the Air Marshal National Council and Judicial Watch’s reporting, the Biden administration will stop sending Federal Air Marshals (FAM) to the Mexican border to provide illegal immigrants with welfare checks, transportation, and other basic services. The reckless practice left aircraft at risk by sending 150-200 FAM monthly to the southern border to help deal with “a surge in irregular migration.” Judicial Watch was the first to report on the deployments in late October when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent an electronic memorandum to the highly skilled law enforcement officers informing them of the assignments, which consisted of 21-day rotations that could be extended for up to 120 days.

Judicial Watch obtained a copy of the directive from various recipients at the agency, which operates under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), created after 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack. FAM are charged with protecting commercial passenger flights by deterring and countering the risk of terrorist activity, yet they were plucked from their duties to babysit illegal aliens. “The nation is experiencing a surge in irregular migration along the Southwest Border (SWB),” the October notice to FAM officers read. “The unprecedented volume of Noncitizen Migrants (NCMs) currently apprehended mandates immediate further action to protect the life and safety of federal personnel and noncitizens in CBP [Customs and Border Protection] custody.”

The first wave of air marshals was dispatched to El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona on October 30 for an October 31 start. Thirty officers and a supervisor went to El Paso, 15 officers and a supervisor to Yuma. Here is the important work that the specially trained law enforcement officers were doing on the southern border rather than their critical duty of protecting commercial planes flagged for terrorist threats. “Hospital Watch, Transportation, Law Enforcement Searches, Entry Control, Security at CBP Facilities and Welfare Checks.” In a formal complaint to the DHS Inspector General, the Air Marshal National Council, which represents thousands of FAM nationwide, accused TSA Administrator David Pekoske and FAM Director Tirrell Stevenson of violating federal law and overstepping their authority by assigning air marshals to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with the illegal immigration crisis. The complaint also accused Homeland Security leaders of fraud, waste, and abuse of authority.

Earlier this month when an intelligence alert disclosed that Al Qaeda is planning attacks in the U.S. involving planes, the Air Marshal National Council fired off a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as well as Pekoske and Stevenson reminding them that deploying FAM to the southern border to perform humanitarian work is reckless and putting the nation at extreme risk. Judicial Watch published a story about the threat after obtaining a copy from government sources of the intelligence alert, which was delivered on December 31, 2022, at 12:23:52 Greenwich Mean Time. The caption of the widely circulated warning reads: “Al-Qaeda says upcoming attacks on US, possibly involving planes, will use new techniques and tactics.”

It appears that the combined efforts of Judicial Watch and the Air Marshal National Council have squeezed the Biden administration to end the controversial border missions. A memo dispersed to FAM just days ago says that all future deployments to the southwest border (SWB) have been suspended until further notice. “Wave #5 will continue their deployment until January 27th and then travel home as planned on January 28th,” according to the notice provided to Judicial Watch by various government sources. “Wave #6 will NOT DEPLOY as planned on January 25th.” The missive directs FAM to cancel travel and informs officers that hotel and car rental reservations will be cancelled by the agency. Air marshals nationwide are thrilled that they can return to their critical mission of securing the nation’s transportation system and David Londo, president of the Air Marshal National Council, said “it looks like we won.”


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