ICE Testifies on Steps Taken to Avoid U.S. Flight Schools Unknowingly Training Terrorists
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 30, 2012 – A government investigation revealed that a Boston flight school had been training up to 25 undocumented immigrants, even as security officials testified that steps were being taken to ensure that such situations would not occur in the future.
“In a national embarrassment, DHS investigators found a Boston-based flight school populated mainly with foreign students who were visa overstays or simply here without authorization,” said Dallas immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz. “ICE now claims to have identified systemic vulnerabilities and implemented changes. I certainly hope so.”
According to an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), eight students at the school, TJ Aviation, had come into the country illegally, and the other 17 had entered legally but had overstayed their visas. Three students obtained pilot licenses. The discovery was made when local police pulled the owner of the flight school over for a traffic stop and discovered that the owner himself was an undocumented immigrant.
Officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), both agencies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), testified in a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security.
Although pilots are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the TSA is responsible for conducting criminal background and immigration status checks. Stephen Lord, a TSA official, testified in the Congressional hearing that the TSA has a program in place, known as the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP), to determine whether foreign flight students pose a security threat. Lord admitted that “weaknesses exist in the vetting process,” including the fact that the TSA does not check whether flight students entered the country illegally.
John Woods, an Assistant Director with ICE, also testified before the committee, saying that “systemic vulnerabilities” had been discovered, and that ICE and TSA “have identified and are discussing” possible solutions. According to Woods, the proposed solutions include having the TSA conduct semiannual reviews of flight students' immigration status.
Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
14901 Quorum Drive, Suite 580
Dallas, Texas 75254
- USCIS Announces Suspension of H-1B Petition Premium Processing
In a surprise announcement on March 3, 2017, USCIS advised that it will suspend its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions starting April 3, 2017. April 3, 2017 is the earliest date that U.S. employers can file cap subject H-1B petitions for FY 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017. The suspension applies to ...
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds TRO against President Trump’s January 27, 2017 executive order
On February 9, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a temporary restraining order (TRO) against President Trump’s January 27 executive order preventing travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. President Trump’s executive order banned for 90 days entry of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, ...
- USCIS sets out new standard for National Interest Waiver petitions
In a recent decision by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the AAO set out a new standard to adjudicate National Interest Waiver (NIW) employment based immigrant visa petitions. As background, an employment based immigrant visa petition in the advanced degree or exceptional ability category requires an employer ...