By Mohamed Attia
From January 2019 to December 2022, US Customs and Border Protection imposed fines of $6.7 million on airlines for transporting passengers to the United States with expired foreign passports, invalid visas, or damaged, unreadable documents, according to CBP data.
According to CNN, a CBP spokesperson said: “Ensuring that all passengers seeking to travel to the United States have the appropriate travel documents will facilitate legal travel and result in fewer fines incurred by airlines, thus promoting a stronger relationship between CBP and airlines.”
Fines have been imposed on dozens of domestic and international airlines, while data shows that there are about 1,000 closed cases related to the transportation of people who lack appropriate documents to the United States.
The data shows that the three largest commercial airlines subjected to the highest fines are “American Airlines”, “Delta Airlines” and “Spirit Airlines”, and the fines for those companies amounted to about $1.1 million, $345 thousand, and $321 thousand, respectively.
Between 2019 and 2022, Delta carried 572 million customers worldwide and “several” cases resulted in fines due to “errors in government documents,” according to Delta Airlines spokesman Drake X. Castaneda.
Nearly half of the fines, about $3.2 million, were imposed by CBP’s Miami field office, making it the busiest area for this type of activity, according to the data.
US airports that receive international travellersare considered ports of entry to the United States, where, among other things, US Customs and Border Protection officers and personnel carry out immigration enforcement, according to CBP.
A CBP spokesperson said: “If a person is found without the appropriate documentation, they can be denied entry into the United States.”
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can fine airlines $6,696 per passenger for illegally bringing non-citizens into the United States without valid documentation, according to the customs agency.