U.S. air marshals plan to refuse deployment to southern border
More than a dozen of the air marshals assigned to the job plan to refuse the assignment because they claim it involves duties that are outside the scope of the job
December 1, 2022 7:40pm
Updated: December 1, 2022 7:40pm
Several U.S. air marshals plan to refuse deployment to the southern border claiming that it is outside of the scope of their job, according to a group representing them.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought volunteers from the Federal Air Marshal Service to go to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist Border Patrol agents, who are overwhelmed by the unprecedented influx of undocumented migrants.
However, when less than 150 volunteers signed up in October, the agency announced that air marshals would face mandatory deployments to the border, according to Executive Director of the Air Marshal National Council Sonya LaBosco.
More than a dozen of the air marshals assigned to the job plan to refuse the assignment because they claim it involves duties that are outside the scope of the job and are, therefore, illegal deployments, according to a letter sent on November 4 to DHS by a lawyer for the air marshal group.
Air marshals are part of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a branch of the DHS, and tend to fly on domestic flights to help prevent any security threat that might take place.
LaBosco said that the deployments to the border will affect U.S. aviation security during the holiday season by forcing the air marshals to perform unrelated work duties at the border.
A DHS spokesperson, however, said that air marshals have previously been assigned to areas under crisis for short periods, such as to assist in hurricane relief efforts. Air marshals were also deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2019, the spokesperson added.
"Rank and file air marshals are going to refuse to deploy and risk termination," David Londo, President of the Air Marshal National Council, told the Washington Examiner.
"You’re almost going to have a mutiny of a federal agency, which is unheard of," he added.