Following President Biden’s order for the deployment of federal air marshals to the U.S. – Mexico border, over a dozen air marshals have made it clear they will fight back against the order.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the federal agency responsible for border patrol and immigration control. Federal air marshals serve under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a subagency of the DHS, and are therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the DHS.
Back in October 2022, the DHS sought volunteers from the Federal Air Marshal Service for deployment at the Southern border, given the ongoing crisis occurring there. Fewer than 150 federal air marshals volunteered for the program, leading the DHS to begin drafting air marshals to send to the border.
Sonia Labasco, executive director of the Air Marshal National Council, stated in an interview with Fox and Friends that “we have been depleted. We’re on less than 1% of flights” as a result of the DHS border deployment mandate. According to Labasco, “pulling us out of the sky to go to the border is just demolishing our chances at stopping another 9/11.” With the holiday season approaching, and Americans taking more flights, it is critical for the Federal Air Marshal Service to be fully deployed and not burdened by additional responsibilities.
The Department of Homeland Security has defended the deployment of air marshals from recent pushback, citing times in American history when air marshals have been deployed for duties outside their clearly defined roles. In most of these circumstances, however, a natural disaster had occurred such as a hurricane.
Unfortunately, there is little indication that the situation at the southern border is improving, meaning air marshals may be deployed there for long periods of time. Title 42, the COVID-era border protocol that allowed for prompt deportation of some migrants due to the pandemic, is set to expire on December 21.
The expiration of Title 42 poses a threat to an already crumbling immigration system. Currently, with Title 42 in place, migration levels have soared to record numbers under the Biden administration leading to a full-fledged border crisis. Title 42’s expiration will only lead to decreased capabilities for the federal government to exert control over the situation.
At a time when many families are taking flights to visit loved ones for the holiday season, the Federal Air Marshal Service is as depleted as it has been the entire year. Instead of helping secure the safety of our flights, many air marshals are at the southern border helping to clean up the Biden administration’s mess.