NOVEMBER 30, 2006
At least six illegal immigrants have been caught with security badges that gave them access to restricted areas at one of the nation’s biggest airports. The Mexican men worked installing drywall and were cleared to access even the most vulnerable parts of Atlanta International Airport, including the tarmac.
Federal authorities are downplaying the critical incident, saying that they don’t believe the illegal Mexicans posed a specific threat. The point is, however, that undocumented immigrants obtained the security clearance necessary to access highly restricted areas of a major United States airport.
In terms of passengers, the Georgia airport is actually the world’s busiest and the facility is the state’s largest employment center with approximately 55,300 employees. There are 148 domestic and 28 international gates and more than 200 retail outlets spanning over 209,000 square feet.
Not surprisingly, the Atlanta Aviation officials who operate the facility are keeping quiet about this major security breach. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent acknowledged, however, that areas of critical infrastructure– such as airports–are especially important to national security.
That is why federal agents have cracked down on illegal immigrants working at airports since the 2001 terrorist attacks. It has led to the arrest of nearly 6,000 unauthorized workers at hundreds of airports around the country and the deportation of more than 1,000 illegal immigrants. Hopefully they never had security clearance to roam freely on the tarmac.
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