What are the reasons why this legislation has been introduced?
The Freedom to Travel Act of 2021 — which is also known as H.R. 6030 with the House of Representatives of the United States — was recently introduced by a member of Congress who is also a member of the Republican Party and represents the fourth congressional district in Arizona.
“Reports that Americans with no criminal backgrounds have been placed on the secretive No Fly List by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), preventing them from air travel, are deeply troubling. There are over 81,000 individuals on the No Fly List, including 1000 American citizens, none of whom were notified or ever given a hearing. Absolutely no due process is provided to American citizens who are being stripped of a fundamental right”, according to this official press release from Paul Gosar. “I am also concerned that the No Fly List, which ostensibly is used to identify terrorists, is being used to target political dissidents.”
The No Fly List — which is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States — was created greater than 20 years ago in response to the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and is used by the Transportation Security Administration as part of its mission to secure all modes of transportation.
When a traveler purchases a ticket to fly as a passenger aboard an airplane, airlines must request permission from the Department of Homeland Security of the United States to issue a boarding pass to the traveler. Unless the government grants permission through the No Fly List, that passenger is unable to fly.
American passengers are denied the right to travel in some cases because they may have the same name as a known terrorist; while in other cases, some passengers are placed on the No Fly List by mistake or for nefarious reasons. When a person is denied boarding, current law restricts the jurisdiction of federal courts to examine the case. The government allegedly “works tirelessly to not disclose the basis for its denial, thus preventing aggrieved citizens the legal recourse to challenge the decision.”
Gosar introduced the legislation because he believes that “every American citizen is entitled to due process and to be told of any allegations against them and reasons for being placed on the No Fly List. The people listed should have a right to an independent tribunal to review the good faith factual basis for the listing. Currently, there is no meaningful legal redress.”
“Any listing based on legitimate, demonstrable, provable objective evidence that a person is a “terrorist” should be easy to present by any law enforcement agency”, according to the aforementioned press release from Gosar. “The secrecy and complete lack of neutral fact-finding is un-American and unconstitutional.”
Delta Air Lines currently has greater than 1,600 people on its own No Fly List; and representatives of the airline asked other airlines to share their “no fly” lists to further protect airline employees across the industry, as a “list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”
Final Boarding Call
The purpose of the Freedom to Travel Act is to “codify the right to travel, set specific standards on what violations can be used to deny the right to fly, grant harmed persons damages, and reform the law to end the government’s ability to deny Americans due process.”
I cannot speak for myself because my name is not on the No Fly List — nor do I have a specific total number of people who are currently on the No Fly List available to me at the time this article was written…
…but do you believe that this legislation is necessary to protect the rights to travel for citizens of the United States “while ensuring the sensitive balance between legitimate law enforcement and citizen constitutional rights against potential political mistreatment” — or is this legislation basically unnecessary?