By April Drew
A 30-YEAR-old Irish undocumented immigrant living in Pearl River, New York has been deported after his status was questioned by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer in a New Orleans airport two weeks ago.
The immigrant, who asked to remain anonymous, was returning from a long weekend in the Big Easy with his fiancée when he was asked by the on duty TSA agent where his required visa stamp was in his passport. Unable to provide the necessary stamp or documents, the man was taken into custody and subsequently deported back to Ireland the following day.
The Irish Voice contacted the TSA, and a representative was unfamiliar with the New Orleans case. The spokesperson, however, assured us that it is not the position of TSA officers to ask an individual about immigration status.
“The job of our officers is security, to make sure that a person’s government official identification matches the individual that is presenting it,” explained Laura Uselding, spokesperson for the TSA.
Uselding did explain that the TSA works in partnership with local law enforcement in every city. “We don’t make arrests. If we find something wrong like a person carrying an excess amount of currency or if they have drugs on them then we will contact the relevant law enforcement,” she said.
A representative for the Emerald Isle Immigration Center told the Irish Voice last week that rumors are rampant within the Irish community, making people afraid to travel.
“Of course you always take the risk when traveling inland if you are undocumented but I think this officer in New Orleans was just on some sort of power trip. There is no law that is coming into effect or anything else that we are aware of to suggest otherwise,” he said.