Customs and Border Patrol – going a little overboard

Customs and Border Protection agents have been operating well within U.S. borders in recent years. Department of Homeland Security photo.

One would normally think of Customs and Border patrol protecting… well… our borders!  These days though they must be bored because they are stopping private pilots, searching their planes and passengers, and generally causing a lot of inconvenience and hassle.  The interesting part is that they don’t appear to have jurisdiction to DO that.  The FAA has the authority to stop a private pilot and do a “ramp check” to make sure the airplane paperwork is all in order, and so forth.  CBP has authority IF there is probable cause for naughtiness.  They do NOT have authorization to “help” the FAA by stopping pilots in the first place.  This is yet another case of a government department flexing their Homeland Security muscle and overstepping their bounds.

AOPA has a good article on this, and they are following this issue closely, lobbying congress and trying to put pressure on the CBP to just knock it off.


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