On Saturday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced the Justice Department will be ramping up the federal prosecution of cases against crimes that occur on and around commercial airplanes. Mr. Nielsen said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will begin increasing its staff in the National Transportation Security Agency to the point that the head of NTA will be assigned full responsibility for investigating reports of crimes that occur on commercial flights. She also announced that prosecutors will coordinate with law enforcement officers and airline employees in order to focus on crimes involving violence and offensive behavior.
As our great country prepares to welcome thousands of refugees and immigrants fleeing religious and political persecution, the Administrator of NTA will assume additional duties and responsibility for the criminal jurisdiction of crimes that occur on board commercial aircraft.
The DOJ and Department of Homeland Security are committed to ensuring that airline employees and passengers act responsibly and treat one another with respect.
They also announced the creation of a new National Coordination Center, which will be managed by the NTA Administrator, to coordinate with other federal agencies as well as state and local law enforcement to work with airlines and federal air marshals to investigate crimes occurring on and around aircraft.
A criminal prosecution can result in significant fines and imprisonment. Domestic and international migrants, and their family members, are often the victims of crime, including sexual assault, stalking, and robbery.
The DOJ and DHS also urge law enforcement officers, immigration officers, and airline employees to report all potential criminal or other violations to their agencies immediately, and to report crimes committed by a passenger, employee, or vendor.