The United States is grappling with an ongoing and severe crisis of illegal immigration along its southern border with Mexico, a situation that shows no signs of abating as an accumulation of unfounded asylum claims grows. The response strategy under the current Administration, rather than repatriating undocumented immigrants to their countries of origin, is to find alternative accommodations within the U.S. to cope with the influx of tens of thousands of newcomers.
A recent strategy from the Department of Homeland Security suggests utilizing airports to temporarily accommodate undocumented immigrants.
The suggestion to use national airports as temporary shelters for undocumented immigrants has sparked concern. Members of the Republican party within the House Subcommittee on Aviation have expressed their objection to this approach in a recent correspondence addressed to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday.
The letter forcefully states the group’s position that they are extremely troubled by the news that the Federal Government is both permitting and promoting the Nation’s airport facilities as provisional shelters for undocumented immigrants. According to the group, “We adamantly oppose these ill-conceived plans that blatantly ignore the true crisis at hand and would inappropriately utilize America’s infrastructure.”
The group emphasized that airports in our country primarily aim to facilitate commerce and transit, not to accommodate migrants who may not have been thoroughly screened or documented. They strongly recommend that the integrity of public airport grant assurances be upheld and that any proposals to the contrary be disregarded.
The letter’s content goes on to assert the dissatisfaction with the lack of border security to the south and criticizes the Administration’s inability to manage the consequences of its ineffective policies, which have essentially transformed every state into a border state.
The letter is in response to a report that the Department of Homeland Security has put forth a plan to accommodate 60,000 migrants at four public airports and several other venues across New York and New Jersey.
The communities surrounding some airports are worried about the possibility of them turning into larger versions of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Reports suggest that portions of the O’Hare International Airport terminals have been converted into a shelter for hundreds of migrants. In early October, more than 800 migrants were sheltering at the airport. New reports indicate that those numbers are increasing.
This has rightly raised concerns among lawmakers about the security risks posed by housing unknown persons at airports that host sensitive military facilities and also support passenger air service.
The lawmakers also pointed out the contradictions in the proposal, stating that the Administration proposed higher screening requirements for known airline crewmembers due to security risks but are now willing to let unknown migrants shelter in these highly sensitive places.