Passengers arriving on a Delta flight from San Francisco to John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday night were asked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to produce identification as they exited the plane.
These are customs agents forcibly checking the ID of every passenger deplaning from Delta flight 1583 tonight at JFK. A domestic flight. pic.twitter.com/fHMgyzCjo5
— Britton Taylor (@brittontaylor) February 23, 2017
The request—in the context of sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policies under the administration of President Donald Trump—was met with confusion, alarm and speculation by some passengers according to the Wall Street Journal.
Matt O’Rourke, a passenger, said that as the plane taxied to the gate, a member of the flight crew announced that everyone on board should have their papers ready to be checked by agents.
After a passenger asked the flight attendant to clarify what they wanted to see, the crew member explained that they were looking to inspect a government-issued ID, Mr. O’Rourke said.
As passengers exited the plane, two Customs and Border Protection agents checked IDs one by one.
Mr. O’Rourke, who lives in New York and works in advertising, said it didn’t make sense why the customs agents would be checking these documents on a domestic flight.