Bill Targets Working Illegal Aliens
A federal proposal to restrict
immigrant workers who have access to secure areas at US airports
could devastate the workforce at airports nationwide.
The bill, sponsored by US Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL,) would require
all airport, airline and contract workers with security access to
runways, tarmac areas, aircraft and baggage systems to have Social
Security numbers -- which means they may be US citizens or have
permanent immigration status, with a green card, according to the
Phoenix Business Journal.
Other proposals seek to allow such access only to US citizens.
Kirk's bill also would allow airport security badges to be issued
by the US Department of Homeland Security, rather than at each
The proposed bill would have a negative effect on Arizona's
Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport, according to
Nearly 31,000 people work at PHX for airlines, concessionaires,
contractors and the city, which operates the airport. Deb
Ostreicher, the city's deputy aviation director, said about 22,000
are officially badged, giving them security access.
"Just over 2,000 badged employees are eligible to work in the
United States, but are not US citizens," Ostreicher said. All
airport workers go through background and security checks with Sky
Harbor and the Transportation Security Administration before being
granted access badges, she added.
"The TSA mandates that we complete a security threat assessment
on each employee to verify identify and eligibility to work in the
United States. We also conduct fingerprinting and criminal history
records checks going back 10 years," Ostreicher said. "The TSA then
processes the data and advises whether or not we can issue a
Kirk proposed the bill to improve airport security following the October arrests of 30 workers at
Chicago O'Hare International Airport for using fake
security badges to access sensitive areas. Some reports indicated a
number of those detained were illegal immigrants.
Officials estimate there are 579,000 illegal immigrants in
Arizona, and that they make up 12 percent of the state's work
force, citing the Center for Immigration Studies. Other federal
estimates say there are 11.3 million illegal immigrants