Well this is truly bizarre. Pictures are circulating from one of yesterday’s Delta flights between San Francisco and New York. Upon arrival in New York, passengers on DL1583 were met by (at least) two US Customs & Border Protection Agency officers, who allegedly demanded to see each passenger’s “documents.”
My flight from SFO to JFK. We were told we couldn't disembark without showing our "documents." pic.twitter.com/9ugQspTqeX
— Anne Garrett (@annediego) February 23, 2017
I’ve never seen CBP officers be engaged with a domestic flight in such a way, and can’t come up with any logical explanation for it either.
I’ve certainly seen police officers meet a domestic flight because they were looking for a specific passenger, and I’ve also seen CBP officers meet international flights to do passport checks (presumably because they were looking for someone)… but to have Customs & Border Protection agents meet a domestic flight is a completely different story.
As of now I haven’t seen any explanation from either the airline or CBP about what happened…
Update: Per Gothamist, the CBP has provided the following statement regarding this incident:
According to a CBP spokesman, the agency “was contacted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) yesterday, February 22, 2017, to assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583 from San Francisco International Airport to JFK. This individual was ordered removed by an immigration judge.”
“To assist our law enforcement partners, two CBP officers requested identification from those on the flight in order to help identify the individual,” he added. “The individual was determined not to be on the flight.”