FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans on Tuesday are calling for the Biden administration to provide additional information on what they call an "extremely troubling" policy that allows illegal immigrants to board planes using civil arrest warrants and other related documents as ID.
Two dozen Republicans, led by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., have written to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas seeking answers on the Transportation Security Administration policy, which allows illegal immigrants to use civil immigration arrest warrants and deportation orders that are not included on TSA's acceptable form of ID list.
"These documents are not secure documents and can easily be forged, copied, or otherwise manipulated," the letter, obtained by Fox News Digital, says. "Given the fact that American citizens are constantly being reminded that their IDs will soon need to be REAL ID compliant to board an airplane, it is extremely troubling that TSA is allowing illegal aliens to use nonsecure documents as IDs to board planes."
DHS has previously stated that it allows notices to appear, civil arrest warrants (which are immigration documents and separate from criminal arrest warrants), order of release on recognizances, orders of supervision and other documents as ID to board aircraft if migrants do not have other typically accepted ID.
Last month, TSA Administrator David Pekoske was asked at a Senate hearing how many with arrest warrants or deportation notices have been allowed to travel this calendar year.
"Under 1,000 sir," Pekoske told Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
The House Republicans on Tuesday were skeptical of that number.
"This number seems extremely low given the fact that DHS has released nearly 500,000 illegal aliens into the United States so far this year," they wrote.
TSA has argued that the process involves additional vetting. Pekoske said at the Senate hearing that the presentation of a warrant marked the beginning of a further verification process.
"These individuals who have these arrest warrants, these arrest warrants were issued by Border Patrol or a customs officer, and they serve as a beginning of our identity verification process so you can't walk up to a checkpoint, wave that form and then go right through into screening," he said.
The agency has previously said that any such document will then be validated via an "alien identification number" that involves personally identifiable information being checked against a number of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) databases, including the CBP One mobile application and TSA’s National Transportation Vetting Center (NTVC).
But that process has not assured Republicans, with the 24 House Republicans arguing that illegal immigrants should be being deported rather than being transported deeper into the U.S.
"The fact that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used directly or indirectly to pay for illegal aliens to be transported throughout the country is a slap in the face to all law-abiding, tax-paying Americans, they write. "Instead of using taxpayer funds to transport illegal aliens, DHS should be using those funds to acquire additional detention space so that it may detain the illegal aliens as required by law."
Previously, Hawley had asked Pekoske why he would allow illegal immigrants on flights at all.
"We aren’t looking at whether a person is legal or illegal in the country," Pekoske said. "Our role is to make sure that people who may pose a risk to transportation that is significant enough to require enhanced screening or to not allow them to fly."
The letter requests that DHS provide answers on how many illegal immigrants it has allowed to board flights without acceptable forms of ID, including a breakdown on the IDs used.
It also seeks more information about additional screening and vetting measures that are used to verify identities, the number of migrants DHS has paid to transport via bus, plane or train across the country -- as well as the funding that has gone toward non-governmental organizations that assist migrants in traveling deeper into the U.S.