With Flyer Rage Incidents on the Rise, Sen. Cruz’s New Bill Puts Federal Air Marshals Back in the Sky

February 27, 2024

Bill Blocks Air Marshals From Being Diverted to Biden Border Crisis 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced the NO FAMS at the Border Act, legislation that would put federal air marshals back on airplanes as the administration has sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officials to the border to help illegal aliens entering the country. Under the bill, an air marshal could be sent to the border only if the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, gave written certification to Congress verifying the existence of a border crisis.

The primary duty of federal air marshals is to protect and secure passengers aboard commercial aircraft. Beginning in 2019, a few federal air marshals were assigned to the southern border to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP). However, over 80% of deployments have taken place since President Biden took office. This trend indicates the Biden administration’s systematic withdrawal of Federal Air Marshals from their mandated role of safeguarding the flying public. Despite these widespread deployments, the Biden administration has declined to designate the border situation as a national emergency.

Upon introduction of the NO FAMS at the Border Act, Sen. Cruz said,

“Americans have recently witnessed numerous high-profile security incidents in the sky, highlighting that TSA’s decision to take air marshals off flights and deploy them to the border may be putting the traveling public at risk. In a brazen act of hypocrisy, the Biden administration maintains that the border is secure, while it continues to reassign air marshals from protecting the skies to the southern border. My legislation provides a simple answer to this looming problem—if Secretary Mayorkas wants to redirect these public servants to the border to help clean up their self-inflicted disaster—he must certify the existence of a border crisis to Congress.”

Read the full text of this legislation HERE.


Sen. Cruz’s legislation comes on the heels of several incidents, including one just last week, where passengers had to jump into action to prevent a threatening individual from opening an emergency exit mid-flight. In March 2023, a passenger on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston attempted to open the emergency door. Thankfully, other passengers and crew subdued the individual. On both occasions, at least 200 air marshals were busy assisting at the southern border and would not have been available to protect those flights.

In 2022, federal air marshals objected to the Biden administration’s mandated deployments to the border to assist Border Patrol agents, potentially risking their jobs.

In October 2023, Sen. Cruz sent a letter calling on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske to immediately stop TSA’s deployment of federal air marshals to the southwest border and consider the safety of the flying public being put at risk. 

In December 2023, Sen. Cruz pressed the TSA regarding their policy of allowing illegal aliens to fly across the country using de facto fake IDs. Currently, TSA and the Department of Homeland Security are effectively relying on the word of illegal aliens regarding their names and dates of birth—potentially allowing terrorists, cartel members, and other criminals to assume new identities, obtain DHS-issued fake IDs, and fly out of U.S. airports.