Aviation Research Paper Sample on Immigration, Screening, and Searching

Immigration, Screening, and Searching


            Aviation security is a serious factor that should be protected every day. Jenkins (2012, p. 64) defines aviation security as different techniques as well as methods that are usually used to protect passengers, the aircraft, employees, and the airports from accidental or cruel harm among other threats. The need to support aviation security arises from the fact that many people go through airports on a daily basis. As such, there is a high risk of possible terror attacks among other forms of crime as a result of large numbers of people being found in one place (Zeke, 2010, p. 322). On the same note, the presence of many people on airports presents the risk for possible death rates, possible attacks in the aircraft, and use of a hijacked airplane as an instrument for killing passengers. Such possibilities may present an attractive target for terrorism, especially following the previously recorded attempted attacks that have occurred around the globe in recent years (Trimillos, 2014, p. 815).

            An important plan that government leaders employ in the attempt to increase aviation security globally is restricting entrances of non-citizens into a country, particularly those travelling using airplanes. Such limits ensure that passengers entering a certain country have suitable documents given by the embassy or consulate and are able to defend the reason for their visit to the planned destination including tourist visits, medical, education, and work-related purposes (Philip, 2012, p. 27). However, each government controls entry of non-citizens within its jurisdictions depending on the rules and policy of its own country, personal records, background check and relationship created between both countries in effort to control acts of violence and terrorism (Jenkins, 2012, p. 73). Customs and transportation security departments also play an important role in increasing aviation security through inspection and searching for unlawful items on personal belongings, which may lead to bad actions that can cause harm or any form of illness during flight or in the destination. The process further involves confirmation of original documents, such as government identity card, passport, visa or an official letter of support when one is entering the intended destination country (Kessner, 2010, p. 190). This paper investigates how different authorities engage in the screening and searching of immigrants as a way of enhancing aviation security.

Immigration, Screening, Searching and Aviation Security

            Governments in different parts of the world aim to improve their own aviation security in the attempt to control any potentially dangerous situations from occurring within their national territories. This is because if aviation security is not properly improved, chances of dangerous situations, unlawful items, and safety threats attacking aircrafts, the country or even the airport continue to increase (CGFNS, 2014, p. 7). As such, governments associate with airport authorities among other departments in their own countries to protect airports as well as the country at large from any form of danger, assure passengers of their safety, and improve security in the country and its people (Zeke, 2010, p. 330).

            The issue of aviation insecurity is closely related to unlawful immigration, which results from the thought that the 9/11 terror attacks were caused by foreign-born criminals. While this thought was true, different governments around the world have created rules and policies planned to control illegal immigration, which would in return promote the general national security, for example, the rules and policies created by the US government to control the Visa allowance process (Wasem, 2014, p. 2). This is because the process is widely thought to be an important part in immigration control and the subsequent border security (Philip, 2012, 31). As such, foreign nationals that may wish to go to the United States and are not officially living in the country can get Visas to get admission. The rules and policies further insist that foreign nationals looking for admission must provide enough prove showing that they are fit to get Visas under any of the available admission method, including tourism, education, work, and medical reasons. They must show that they are not prohibited from obtaining a visa due to any unlawful factor that might prevent their admission into the destination country (Cohen, 2012, p. 117). With visa application making up the main requirement for foreign nationals seeking admission into the US, the data collected during the visa application process make up the main biometric that the government can use to control any form of crime occurring in the airport, the flight as well as the place of destination within the country. Under the current US law, the government has given the Homeland Security and the State departments the task of administering rules and policies related to issuance of visas (Wasem, 2015, 5). Similarly, the government has given Consular affairs to the issuance of visas, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve immigrants’ requests, Immigration and Customs Department to direct the visa program, and the Customs and Border Protection department to check all individuals entering the country (Trimillos, 2014, p. 902). As explained by Jenkins (2012, p. 104), the US government, at its best, aims to encourage visa truthfulness to reduce entrance of foreign nationals that are likely to threaten the country’s security. On the other hand, visa truthfulness is aimed to open access to genuine foreigners that are likely to improve the country’s economy as well as increase foreign exchange. Therefore, it is agreeable that organized application of various rules and policies controlling the issuance of visas can help reduce aviation insecurity by ensuring that only legal migrants are able to enter a country using airplanes (Philip, 2012).

            Along with current rules and policies, various sectors and departments that partner with the government have various responsibilities intended to improve aviation security. The immigration department is one of the important departments that partner with the government to improve aviation security. One way through which the department improves aviation security is through regulating the visa application process. According to Zeke (2010), the immigration department controls issuance of two types of visas available for foreigners. The visas include the immigrant and non-immigrant visas, which differ on the basis of whether a person is seeking temporary or permanent residence in the destination country. The immigrant visas are available for foreign nationals that plan to live in the destination country permanently, and hence, should meet a particular set of standards. For instance, the immigration department, before giving an immigrant visa, ensures that an applicant meets certain provisions of the law, is a possible employee in the country of destination with confirmation from the labor department, has unusual abilities in a particular area, and is a relative to a permanent legal citizen in the destination country (Logan, 2010). The immigration department also controls issuance of nonimmigrant visas, which are available for foreign nationals that plan to obtain a temporary residence in the country of destination. Such foreign nationals are usually allowed into the country of destination for a short period to complete a specifically expressed job. The department has established twenty-four main nonimmigrant visa categories, which are defined clearly in article 101a of the American constitution. The various subcategories defined in this article include tourist, temporary professionals, students, and foreign exchange participant visas (Cohen, 2012). This way, the immigration department ensures that foreign nationals get the relevant approval to enter a foreign country. The visa application process requires presentation of relevant documents, which makes the visa application process a wide process, particularly for individuals intending to get permanent residence in a foreign country. As a result, the immigration department ensures that the aviation security is properly managed, as potentially harmful individuals that do not meet the set criteria to get an immigrant of nonimmigrant visa do not get into a flight, the airport or a foreign country through airplane. According to Trimillos (2014), the immigration department further promotes aviation security by thoroughly establishing the purpose driving a foreign national’s desire to visit the intended country of destination. The department ensures that individuals intending to enter into a foreign country get a visa that fulfils the purpose of their visit. For instance, foreign nationals may plan to go into a foreign country for purposes of tourism, medical treatment, leisure, education or business. The immigrant department gives such individuals respective visas while on the other hand making proper confirmation to ensure that the purpose is suitable (Zeke, p. 2010). This way, the immigrant department improves aviation security by ensuring that foreign nationals with illegal plans do not enter a flight, the airport, and the intended country of destination. The immigration department also improves aviation security through running background checks on all foreign nations planning to enter into a foreign country. According to Philip (2012, p. 37), backgrounds checks have been included in the immigration process, which is carried out on every individual intending to immigrate to a foreign country. These background checks usually occur in three parts, including the IBIS name check, FBI name check, and fingerprint check. All foreign nationals intending to enter a foreign country through an airplane must pass through the three background check tests before they can get a visa interview. The IBIS checks are usually carried out by immigration staff at the port of entry, and they use a centralized system that quickly helps the officials to know whether a visa applicant has a clean record. This way, the immigration department ensures that only people with clean crime-related records have access to a flight, airport or intended country of destination, which further enhances aviation security (Jenkins, 2012, p. 79).

            The Transportation Security Administration department, which is commonly known as TSA, is another important body that plays an important role in improving aviation security. According to Zeke (2010, 340), the department was created as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security sector and it is given the responsibility of improving safety of traveling public, particularly in the United States. TSA improves aviation security by ensuring validity of identification documents. According to Cohen (2012, p. 156), TSA demands that foreign nationals intending to enter any foreign country will produce a suitable identity card at the security checkpoint before boarding a plane. Applicants are also required to produce valid identification passports, which may include state-issued photo and military ID (TSA, 2008, p.6). Upon production of the identification documents, TSA compares passengers’ names against names outlined in the “No FLY” persons, who include all persons suspected for terrorist activities. The names are also compared against a list of “selectees”, who include passengers requiring a more thorough screening before boarding a flight (Philip, 2012, p. 42).This way, TSA improves aviation security by ensuring that only unrestricted individuals with valid documents are able to board a flight as well as enter the airport and the intended country of destination. Similarly, TSA promotes aviation security by screening and searching passengers for any prohibited items. Through the screening and searching exercise, TSA ensures that possible passengers do not bring prohibited objects into a flight, which include sharp objects, aerosols, sporting materials like hockey sticks and bats, flammable liquids, guns, and other forms of weapons (Zeke, 2010, p. 392). TSA also restricts the amount of liquids and gel that passengers can bring into a flight, which must be presented at the checkpoint in a clear manner. This way, TSA enhances aviation security by ensuring that passengers do not have items that may possibly be used to harm people in the airport, flight or the intended country of destination. TSA also enhances aviation security by supporting for country entry approval for interested individuals with clean crime-related records (Kessner, 2010, p. 99). In order for such support to take place, TSA requires interested individuals to obey various flight validation rules as well as possess valid documents needed for one to qualify for visa. Individuals are also required to complete the application and the fingerprinting process as well as pass the security threat examination to show that they do not create any threat to security (Mueller, 2011, p. 159). Once the examination is completed, TSA issues a letter of approval, which an interested foreign national can present to the authorities in the destination country to get admission. This strategy enables TSA to improve aviation security by ensuring that only individuals that have go through thorough search can board a flight as well as access the airport and country of destination. TSA further reduces potential terror attacks by avoiding unlawful immigrants that do not meet the endorsement criteria to be able to get country entry approval. According to Cohen (2012, p. 166), TSA runs advanced scrutiny of passenger information and personal data to identify potential terrorists and facilitate travel legitimacy. The agency also demands passengers to provide advanced information that must always comply with background information provided to help identify possible links with terrorists. TSA further employs highly skilled special agents to identify potential terrorists before reaching the destination country (DHS, 2009, p. 12). While TSA is committed to promoting aviation through searching and screening exercises, it ensures that law and order is maintained during the exercise. As such, the agency ensures that the screening and searching exercise does not lead to the violation of the fourth amendment, which demands that individuals’ rights shall not be violated through irrational search and seizure (Trimillos, 2014, p. 977). The agency further ensures that it follows provisions made during the US ninth Circuit Court, which outlines how passengers should be handled while undergoing the security screening and searching at the airport. This enables TSA to promote aviation security by ensuring that nobody escapes the security search and screening exercise by simply quoting certain rules and procedures as an excuse (Jenkins, 2012, p. 89).

            The airport police also responsible for promoting aviation security, which is often achieved through promoting the safety of individuals and assets in the airport as well suppressing illegal interferences that might affect aviation security. According to Zeke (2010, p. 401), an airport police is responsible for general promotion of security at the airport through monitoring movement of passengers, ground transportation machineries, and airplanes. For instance, the airport police ensure that passengers are following the correct procedures when boarding a flight. They ensure that passengers maintain good order in the airport, thereby enhancing the creation of a secure environment for all individuals found in the airport (Avsec, 2008, p. 22). This ensures that the security personnel can easily spot high-risk individuals that are likely to violate stability at the airport, thereby promoting the overall aviation security (Philip, 2012, p. 59). Airport police officers are also responsible for traffic management to prevent any obstructions and commotions that might threaten the aviation security. For instance, parking a vehicle in contrary to aviation bye-laws can lead to a jail term of extraction of a heavy fine from the person violating the laws (Meissner, 2013, p. 11). The airport police also monitor the movement of airplanes to ensure that high-risk individuals do not take advantage of airplane commotions to accomplish risky tasks. The police officers patrol the airport on foot, scooters, vehicles, and bicycles to ensure that law and order is maintained. According to Ybarra (2013, p. 9), the airport police further promote aviation security through surveillance. Most busy airports have employed drones to provide cheaper and quicker alternative to surveillance to promote security. Ground surveillance is also common with most airports being filled with a huge number of CCTV cameras among other surveillance equipments. This ensures that the airport police can easily monitor all activities taking place at the airport, thereby enhance overall aviation security (Kessner, 2010, p. 102).


            Aviation security is an important factor that different authorities should promote to enhance safety within airports, flights, and national borders. The need to promote aviation security is related to the fact that many people are often found in one place at the same time, which raises the risk of potential terror attacks among other criminals. Aviation insecurity is linked to immigration, especially because most individuals that have historically perpetuated terrorism among other criminal attacks were carried out by foreign nationals. Different governments have created rules and laws that regulate the issuance of visas, which offer the basic approval for foreign nationals to enter a foreign country. Various departments that include the immigration department, TSA, and airport police have partnered with the government to promote the aviation security. These departments promote aviation security through regulation of visa issuance process, running background checks, screening and searching, surveillance, managing traffic movement, issuance of travel approval, and regulation of activities in the airport.


Avsec. (2008). Aviation Security Services. Retrieved on 30th March, 2016 from https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Avsec_BIM_0.pdf

CGFNS. (2014). Visa Screen: Visa Credentials Assessment Application Handbook. Retrieved on 25th March,2016 from http://www.cgfns.org/wp-content/uploads/VSHandbook.pdf

Cohen, C. (2012). Aviation Security and Terrorism: A Review of the Economic Issues, Federal Reserve Bank of st. Louis Review, 84(5), 111-189.

DHS. (2009). TSA’s Role in General Aviation Security. Retrieved on 25th March, 2016 from https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/OIG_09-69_May09.pdf

Jenkins, B. (2012). Aviation Security: After Four Decades, Its Time for a Fundamental Review. New York: Rand.

Kessner, T. (2010). The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh & the Rise of American Aviation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Logan, K. (2010). Homeland Security and Intelligence. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.

Meissner, D. (2013). Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery. Retrieved on 25th March, 2016 from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjvo_SIy9zLAhWDbhQKHXwiB9MQFghOMAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.migrationpolicy.org%2Fpubs%2Fenforcementpillars.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEFchSP1WZgV3n3RTgnyusRe9JdSg&sig2=eqPiqP76jiEiRv0CK6jjIA&bvm=bv.117868183,d.d24

Mueller, J. (2011). Terror, Security and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits and Cost of Homeland Security.Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Philip, K. (2012). Re-Constructing Global Aviation in an Era of the Civil Aircraft as a Weapon of Destruction, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, 25(2), 23-78.

Trimillos, R. (2014). The Aviation Security Cooperation, Air & Space Power Journal, 28(5), 812-1099.

TSA. (2008). Aviation Security: Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures. Retrieved on 25th March, 2016 from http://www.behindtheheadlines.net/sections/bthl/story_links/TSAScreeningManagementDocument.pdf

Wasem, R. (2014). Immigration Visa Security Policies. Retrieved on 25th May, 2016 from http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/library/P8777.pdf

Wasem, R. (2015). Immigration: Visa Security Policies. Retrieved on 25th May, 2016 from https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43589.pdf

Ybarra, S. (2013). Overhauling US Airport Security Screening. Retrieved on 25th March, 2016 from http://reason.org/files/overhauling_airport_security.pdf

Zeke, S. (2010). The Glass Balls of the Brigade Aviation Element: The Brigade Aviation Officer in Combat, Military Review, 90(1), 321-456.