Representative Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 6030, the Freedom to Travel Act of 2021. This legislation will restore due process in air travel security and restore the basic right to travel for all Americans.
“Reports that Americans with no criminal backgrounds have been placed on the secretive No-Fly List by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), preventing them from air travel, are deeply troubling. There are over 81,000 individuals on the No-Fly List, including 1000 American citizens, none of whom were notified or ever given a hearing. Absolutely no due process is provided to American citizens who are being stripped of a fundamental right.
I am also concerned that the No-Fly List, which ostensibly is used to identify terrorists, is being used to target political dissidents.
Every American citizen is entitled to due process and to be told of any allegations against them and reasons for being placed on the No-Fly List. The people listed should have a right to an independent tribunal to review the good faith factual basis for the listing. Currently, there is no meaningful legal redress.
Any listing based on legitimate, demonstrable, provable objective evidence that a person is a “terrorist” should be easy to present by any law enforcement agency. The secrecy and complete lack of neutral fact-finding is un-American and unconstitutional.
I am proud to introduce this legislation that protects the rights to travel for Americans while ensuring the sensitive balance between legitimate law enforcement and citizen constitutional rights against potential political mistreatment,” concluded Congressman Gosar.
“The Freedom to Travel Act would be the most significant step toward bringing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the rule of law since the creation of the TSA 20 years ago. It would rein in the TSA’s ability to substitute secret, extrajudicial edicts for court orders restricting American’s rights, and would remove key barriers that have stood in the way of judicial review of TSA actions and legal redress for those whose rights have been violated,” added Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project.
The No-Fly List, first created 20 years ago in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is used by the TSA as part of its mission to secure all modes of transportation. When a traveler purchases a plane ticket, airlines must request permission from the Department of Homeland Security to issue a boarding pass. Unless the government grants permission through the No-Fly List, a passenger is unable to fly.
In some cases, Americans are denied the right to travel because they have the same name as a known terrorist. In others, some are placed on the list by mistake or nefarious reasons. When one is denied boarding, current law restricts the jurisdiction of federal courts to examine the case. The government works tirelessly to not disclose the basis for its denial, thus preventing aggrieved citizens the legal recourse to challenge the decision.
The Freedom to Travel Act would codify the right to travel, set specific standards on what violations can be used to deny the right to fly, grant harmed persons damages, and reform the law to end the government’s ability to deny Americans due process.
Click here to read the text of the legislation.