Two CBP officials boarded a Delta flight from New York to SFO after it landed on Wednesday and demanded that passengers show government-issued "documents" before they would be allowed to debark.
The officials refused to explain the reason or legal justification for this checkpoint. Subsequently, a CBP spokesman said that they were there at the behest of ICE, seeking a person "ordered removed by an immigration judge."
Delta said it gave permission to CBP to board the flight after contact the agency "to get a sense of why their presence was needed."
"CBP should explain why one of its officers was apparently demanding that passengers on a purely domestic flight show ID," said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney at the ACLU's National Security Project. "CBP is not an always-and-everywhere police force, and any attempt to expand its operations beyond its authority would raise serious concerns."
Handeyside noted that the ACLU is currently putting together a "Know your rights" guide to educate travelers about how to respond if similar incidents occur in the future.
CBP has been on the front line of President Trump's immigration crackdown. Its agents were tasked with enforcing Trump's executive order that banned travel to the U.S. by people from seven Muslim-majority countries. That measure was later suspended by a federal judge, but the Trump administration has vowed to issue another similar order soon.
Your papers, please [Keegan Hamilton/Vice]