For six months now, the TSA has been ignoring the rules it created to make the skies safer for travelers in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There are 15 documents that the TSA considers to be valid for a passenger to board an aircraft. Illegal immigrants typically hold none of these.
ICE often drops people off at bus stations, where nongovernmental organizations that have been alerted to the drop-offs send volunteers to help migrants make travel arrangements to join family members in other cities. The agency then wipes its hands clean following the releases. ICE would not comment on the legal precedent for undocumented immigrants boarding flights in the U.S.
So instead, those looking to depart the border via regional airports become TSA’s burden. If TSA chose to turn away people at airports it would apply more pressure to overwhelmed bus companies like Greyhound and local motels in border towns, complicating an already dire situation for localities struggling to care for this demographic.