U.S. air marshalls are reportedly planning to rebel against a recent order from the White House instructing them to leave positions on commercial flights to take up new posts at the border.
Air Marshal National Council President David Londo says dozens of air marshalls have confirmed their plans to reject President Biden’s demand.
President Joe Biden has reportedly ordered U.S. air marshals to the southern border to make up for a lack of Border Patrol agents. The move is expected to leave the marshals at one-eighth of their normal coverage of U.S. flights- especially as the country heads into its busiest travel season.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has denied Londo’s claim.
It is “entirely inaccurate and does not reflect the critical and professional law enforcement role these officers perform,” the TSA said in a statement.
According to The Daily Wire, Londo wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, TSA Administrator David Pekoske, and Federal Air Marshal Service Director Tirrell Stevenson that the marshals had lost “confidence” in the officials’ ability to lead.
“As it stands today, we believe that many FAMs will refuse to deploy, believing the order is reckless and leaving our country vulnerable to attack,” Londo wrote. “On behalf of our membership, stop these dangerous and irresponsible deployments before our adversaries take advantage of the opportunity this policy has provided.”
“The Federal Air Marshal Service is understaffed and covering the fewest number of flights since before September 11, 2001,” the association said. “We strongly question the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to divert much-needed aviation security to the southern border especially as we enter the busiest travel season of the year, particularly as a federal emergency has not been declared at the border.”
The Department of Homeland Security pushed back against Londo’s claims.
“The suggestion that flights are being left unprotected is completely false,” the department said in a statement to Fox News. “TSA takes its responsibility to secure the skies for the traveling public very seriously. We will continue to protect commercial flights though [sic] our multi-layered security processes, including through the Federal Air Marshal Service which supports this critical mission on the ground and onboard aircrafts.”
Last year, The Federal Air Marshal Service asked marshals to volunteer to spend a 30-day period at the southern border assisting agents processing migrants. However, the Biden administration made the deployments mandatory last month.
The U.S.-Mexico border has seen an explosion in migrant crossings since Biden’s inauguration. On Thursday, new data revealed more than 73,000 illegal immigrants evaded Border Patrol agents in November alone.
According to Fox News, the number of gotaways for November means that there are already over 137,000 gotaways so far this fiscal year, which began in October. In FY2022 there were nearly 600,000 gotaways. There were 389,155 gotaways at the border in FY2021.
There were more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in FY2022 and more than 1.7 million in FY2021. So far, FY2023 is on track to exceed both of those numbers.