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Customary for ICE to come to aircraft door to review documents and separate citizens?

Customary for ICE to come to aircraft door to review documents and separate citizens?

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Old Jul 10, 18, 5:23 am
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Customary for ICE to come to aircraft door to review documents and separate citizens?

Has it come up before about ICE meeting airplanes at LAX (or any other airports) and separating US citizens and residents from non-citizens/residents? Announcement was made requiring all US citizens and residents to get off aircraft first to show passport and boarding pass at the door and have non-citizens remain on the plane (don't know what happened or what was said to non-citizens/residents since I already deplaned). Came in on 7-9-18 flight UA935 from LHR to LAX. Also, officers every 50 feet or so as we got off the aircraft and walked to immigration for regular screening. Was curious if this is now the policy when flying internationally since I had not seen this before on international flights to the US earlier in the year.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 5:38 am
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ICE or CBP? It would be strange for ICE to handle this at a CBP station for an inbound international flight at first port of entry.

I've heard of things like this happening in the past (passport/ID checks immediately upon arrival), though I've never experienced personally. This does not seem like a new policy, but more likely to be a one-off in response to a specific threat or report.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 5:50 am
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Haven't encountered that in the US. Only in Europe.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by LHR Wannabee View Post
Has it come up before about ICE meeting airplanes at LAX (or any other airports) and separating US citizens and residents from non-citizens/residents? Announcement was made requiring all US citizens and residents to get off aircraft first to show passport and boarding pass at the door and have non-citizens remain on the plane (don't know what happened or what was said to non-citizens/residents since I already deplaned). Came in on 7-9-18 flight UA935 from LHR to LAX. Also, officers every 50 feet or so as we got off the aircraft and walked to immigration for regular screening. Was curious if this is now the policy when flying internationally since I had not seen this before on international flights to the US earlier in the year.
  1. Likely this has nothing to do with UA, and should probably be in "Practical Security Issues" or "Checkpoints Debate"
  2. Was almost certainly CBP and not ICE. It would be a real issue if it was ICE as CBP is responsible for maintaining the ports of entry.
  3. Possible and likely that there was a specific threat (or similar) regarding your flight or that timeframe. I have flown in a number of times in the past couple of months without a peep (other than standard - which means sometimes blocking entry to the passport control area when there's overload). EWR, JFK, BOS, PHI
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Old Jul 10, 18, 6:02 am
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ICE very clear in the announcement and wearing jackets with logo. Passport control was empty in this terminal when we were released to proceed to customary screening and then customs.

Last edited by LHR Wannabee; Jul 10, 18 at 6:10 am
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Old Jul 10, 18, 6:03 am
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Nothing is "normal" with ICE operations right now.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 6:12 am
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If it were ICE, then it was likely in response to a very specific issue, e.g. to identify/apprehend a particular individual traveling to the US using a foreign passport.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 6:44 am
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If it was ICE (HSI), it was likely a law enforcement investigation focusing on either a non-US passport holder or non-US passport holders on that flight or some number of flights. It could have been very narrowly focused on one passenger, but a bit of poor procedure to make an announcement such as "would Mr. X please ring his call button".
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Old Jul 10, 18, 7:19 am
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Given that APIS gives complete visibility on all the passengers, this seems over-dramatic and rather heavy handed.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 7:28 am
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I had a similar thing happening many years ago on NZ AKL-LAX
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Old Jul 10, 18, 7:44 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
Given that APIS gives complete visibility on all the passengers, this seems over-dramatic and rather heavy handed.
Seems like a bit showy/flexing muscle as well when they could have told the plane to tell everyone to remain seated, boarded and then gone to the seat of the POI.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 7:46 am
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I've had US CBP (not ICE) agents meeting planes, confirming whether you are US citizen/permanent resident, or otherwise. Showing a passport or green card would suffice, as they don't confirm the ID page. Often they have a list of person(s) of interest, but it's not UA specific.

Also, FWIW, US CBP is responsible for immigration laws and procedures at borders, including airports. ICE is responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the US border, not at the border.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 8:12 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
Given that APIS gives complete visibility on all the passengers, this seems over-dramatic and rather heavy handed.
Does it give complete visibility on whether a particular person is traveling on a stolen/forged passport? Aliases? Or if information about a passenger (perhaps traveling on said stolen/forged passport) came to light while the aircraft was enroute? I know that kind of thing happens, too.

I doubt this is a case of an expired visa or something of that more innocuous nature.

Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
Seems like a bit showy/flexing muscle as well when they could have told the plane to tell everyone to remain seated, boarded and then gone to the seat of the POI.
Seems that would be a little more aggressive? I'd much rather be allowed to deplane (even if ID check necessary) and on my way instead of having to wait while officials board and detain a subject in full view of 200+ other passengers. The agents might not have had PC to detain immediately, or needed to confirm identity, and possession of a forged document would be sufficient basis to detain. If the subject were of sufficient interest, I'd prefer that authorities intercede as soon as the aircraft arrives, rather than releasing the person into the passport control pool and risk evasion.

A lot of speculation, sure, but we really have no idea about what was going on.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 8:17 am
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CBP regularly do this daily (along with outbound checks) across the US e.g. meeting the flights at the gate.

ICE do not; so it was likely a targeted operation looking for one individual or a group.

ICE and CBP, while 'cousins' have slightly different functions.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 8:25 am
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Could be a well known cyber criminal. And for showing up in numbers, well they all need to be paid so might as well make them do something and get them out on the field and get them some exercise
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