Congressional priviledge

Old Oct 4, 19, 11:22 am
  #1  
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Congressional priviledge

Does anyone know if Senators and Congressmen get special treatment from immigration and customs when entering the US on commercial flights?
I wonder if they are subjected to the belligerent aggressuve CBP people I see so often. (especially at JFK)
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Old Oct 4, 19, 3:15 pm
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I can't speak directly to your question but when I was returning from oversea trips on military aircraft, crew only, Customs and Agriculture officers would meet and board the aircraft on the ramp. If duty for certain items wasn't assessed then no one complained. We did fully complete customs declarations as required. Now this is some years back so can't say things are still done the same way.
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Old Oct 4, 19, 3:51 pm
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A friend's stepmother used to have a high position in the EU government. When she arrived in the US she was met at the plane by someone who brought her past the standard immigration lines (she still had to have her passport checked but it was a quick process in a private room with no lines, even if she wasn't coming on official business). Then my friend had to sign a waiver to waive Secret Service protection while she was here. When he dropped her at the airport on her way home, a United rep met her curbside and let her bypass TSA, going straight to the United Club (or whatever it was called then).
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Old Oct 4, 19, 6:14 pm
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Thanks.
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Old Oct 5, 19, 1:36 am
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A few years ago, Sen. Bob Dole was in front of me in line arriving on an International Flight into SFO. The Officer inspecting him had no idea who he was but was courteous and not asking anything out of the normal.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 9:58 am
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Senator Burr comes through our checkpoints all the time, and he is usually Precheck, however, he comes through just like the other Precheck folks do. As for returning from a foreign destination, I think that there are probably a number of answers - was the trip U.S Sponsored, and was the individual functioning as an active representative of the Federal Government (that may mean they are eligible for diplomatic auspices)? If they are just taking a vacay, the rules (hypothetically) are the same for them, as would be for you.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
Senator Burr comes through our checkpoints all the time, and he is usually Precheck, however, he comes through just like the other Precheck folks do. As for returning from a foreign destination, I think that there are probably a number of answers - was the trip U.S Sponsored, and was the individual functioning as an active representative of the Federal Government (that may mean they are eligible for diplomatic auspices)? If they are just taking a vacay, the rules (hypothetically) are the same for them, as would be for you.

Is the senator treated like Rand Paul was by TSA Nashville?
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Old Oct 7, 19, 12:53 pm
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While all must still undergo passport and customs inspection, as GSOL said, it depends on the type of travel. If returning from official travel then the appropriate people at the airport will know the critter is coming through (the staffer that doesn't notify the appropriate folks that a member is coming through won't be working scheduling/advance very long) and they are frequently allowed to undergo inspection in a separate area or to use the diplomatic/air-crew dedicated lanes. On personal travel they and their party will sometimes be directed to use the diplomats/air crew dedicated lanes.

But to your point, in either case, yes, congresscritters frequently get officers who know with whom they are dealing and who provide the appropriate level of customer service (all while ensuring compliance with the law, of course).

If the Member is in leadership (the speaker, president pro tem, majority/minority leaders and a few others) or otherwise traveling with a security detail (like Cong. Omar) then these groups are definitely handled separately from the regular crowd just as they would not undergo the traditional PSC processing.

Last edited by Section 107; Oct 7, 19 at 1:33 pm Reason: typos/grammar
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Old Oct 7, 19, 1:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Is the senator treated like Rand Paul was by TSA Nashville?
Not that I have seen or heard of.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 8:24 am
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Members of the US Congress still get screened by airport security screeners in the way that was documented in the leaked TSA SOP manual years back. And that leaked manual included how people with or without security details are to be screened (or not screened) by TSA.

Flying with US (or non-US) diplomatic passports by itself doesnít generally get the bearer much of any favors from the TSA at US airport screening checkpoints. Flying with US official passports also doesnít. Members of the US Congress donít all have diplomatic passports. Iím not even sure that they all even have currently valid US passports of any or all sorts to which they are or may be entitled depending on purpose and need of travel.

Has CBP or TSA granted Congressional members and/or staff a way to get free KTNs that get them PreCheck? I certainly donít recall hearing anything about that, although there are probably some such persons who have US military affiliation of a sort that do have numbers that can be used in the KTN field without having signed up for a DHS paid membership program.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Members of the US Congress still get screened by airport security screeners in the way that was documented in the leaked TSA SOP manual years back. And that leaked manual included how people with or without security details are to be screened (or not screened) by TSA.

Flying with US (or non-US) diplomatic passports by itself doesnít generally get the bearer much of any favors from the TSA at US airport screening checkpoints. Flying with US official passports also doesnít. Members of the US Congress donít all have diplomatic passports. Iím not even sure that they all even have currently valid US passports of any or all sorts to which they are or may be entitled depending on purpose and need of travel.

Has CBP or TSA granted Congressional members and/or staff a way to get free KTNs that get them PreCheck? I certainly donít recall hearing anything about that, although there are probably some such persons who have US military affiliation of a sort that do have numbers that can be used in the KTN field without having signed up for a DHS paid membership program.
I would bet an ice cold Coca~Cola that MOC get Pre Check without paying for it. Just like TSA employees and certain other groups of government employees. Given their position in government I would think they get treated with less "Meeting Resistance" type things than the average traveler. I know how MOC were treated by the military when we had them on one of our airplanes. Power has its privilege and even if they don't expect favorable treatment it is often given.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 1:51 pm
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Congressional staff Government agencies/staff (and nearly everyone else of importance) submits a request to have their people expedited by an Officer or escorted by the airline. Happens multiple times a day. Our State Department as well as airlines and foreign governments all do it.

Last edited by maninblack; Oct 8, 19 at 7:03 pm
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Old Oct 8, 19, 4:43 pm
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Congressional staff aren’t generally treated the same as US Congressional Reps and Senators, and most of the staff wouldn’t request anything on their own behalf when dealing with TSA or CBP beyond that which is available to the general American public.

I’ve known a few very senior Congress staffers (and way more junior Congress staffers) in my time — and even some of the House GCs, the Senate GCs and some of the Senate committees’ GCs — and they’ve been in the same TSA and CBP lines as myself on my personal/family trips more than once. They generally get treated no better than I have been on my personal trips. The actual members — not staff — of the two houses of the US Congress are often a different story when dealing with CBP, but not all of them get a receiving CBP committee or even airline escort all the time when arriving back at US ports of entries on personal trips.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
I would bet an ice cold Coca~Cola that MOC get Pre Check without paying for it. Just like TSA employees and certain other groups of government employees. Given their position in government I would think they get treated with less "Meeting Resistance" type things than the average traveler. I know how MOC were treated by the military when we had them on one of our airplanes. Power has its privilege and even if they don't expect favorable treatment it is often given.
I wonder how often MOCs flying US common carriers back to the US get SSSS flags on their boarding passes. It seems like it’s been many years since last there was an MOC being hit by even the US watch lists so as to get an MOC SSSS boarding passes even domestically. With the expansion of the list of PreCheck participating carriers, it’s likely that MOCs are seeing even fewer of those SSSS boarding passes for their international trips back to the US even when flying on non-US carriers back to the US.
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Old Oct 8, 19, 9:49 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
I wonder how often MOCs flying US common carriers back to the US get SSSS flags on their boarding passes. It seems like itís been many years since last there was an MOC being hit by even the US watch lists so as to get an MOC SSSS boarding passes even domestically. With the expansion of the list of PreCheck participating carriers, itís likely that MOCs are seeing even fewer of those SSSS boarding passes for their international trips back to the US even when flying on non-US carriers back to the US.
The answer to MOC getting PreCheck.

Congress Sails Past Airport Hell Under Special TSA Program

Under the TSAís Precheck program, 447 members of Congress have elected to skip to the head of the line, according to a Sept. 18 Government Accountability Office report. Members of the general public can and do join Precheck as well, but have to pay to go through an application process that includes being fingerprinted. And they donít get a helping hand from the TSAís legislative affairs office.
Probably answers the question about if they get 4S too.
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