Rolling Stone - Passengers of a domestic Delta flight from San Francisco to New York were told to show their identity documents to uniformed agents of the Customs and Border Protection agency upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy airport on Wednesday evening.
CBP officers are border agents, whose statutory authority is generally limited to international arrivals.
CBP agents inspected passenger identifications on the jetbridge by the door of the aircraft. A CBP spokesman insisted to Rolling Stone that this action is "nothing new" and that there is "no new policy." But the unusual – and legally questionable – search of domestic travelers comes days after the Department of Homeland Security outlined its plans to implement President Trump's sweeping executive order targeting millions of "removable aliens" for deportation.
Upon deplaning from Delta Flight 1583 in New York, passenger Anne Garrett tweeted, "We were told we couldn't disembark without showing our 'documents.'"
Another passenger, Matt O'Rourke, snapped a similar picture. O'Rourke tells Rolling Stone that the Delta flight attendant alerted passengers, "You'll need to show your papers to agents waiting outside the door."
"She was weirded out by it," he says. The agents, O'Rourke says, said nothing to him, but took his ID and scrutinized it for nearly 30 seconds before letting him pass. He describes the experience as "a little bit alarming." Only later did O'Rourke find himself asking, "Why is a customs agent doing this search? The flight didn't enter from another country."