NAPO Washington Reports

NAPO Supports the No FAMS at the Border Act

February 28, 2024

NAPO pledged its support for Senator Cruz's No FAMS at the Border Act, S. 3808, which would prohibit Federal Air Marshals (FAMS) from being deployed to the border unless the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) gives written certification to Congress verifying that there is a border crisis.

NAPO, together with our member organization, the Air Marshal National Council, have been fighting the forced deployments of FAMS to the southern border since November 2022 when DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas first began sending FAMS to assist Customs and Border Patrol in mainly non-law enforcement duties. Until that point, these deployments had been voluntary for air marshals, but due to the lack of interest in such deployments, the Secretary made them mandatory.

According to a January 2021 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the heavy travel requirements of the Federal Air Marshal Service have resulted in enduring quality of life challenges including unpredictable work schedules and mental and physical health issues. The GAO report also found that the Service has done nothing to address the overall health of its workforce, which this nation relies on to protect our aviation system.  Forcing 21-plus day deployments to the southern border only exacerbates these workforce issues.

These deployments are not only a health and wellness issue for air marshals, but they are also a safety issue for our country.  The Service is understaffed and covering fewer flights since before September 11, 2001. Many high-risk flights are going without air marshals at a time when there have been several in-air threats to planes.  We strongly question why Federal Air Marshals are being diverted to the southern border, where no Federal emergency has been declared, when our planes and skies are left relatively unsecured.

We thank Senator Cruz for leading the fight in Congress to protect the safety of our skies as well as the health and wellness of our FAMS and call on Congress to pass the No FAMS at the Border Act.