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FIRST ON FOX: More than two dozen House Republicans are expressing their concern about new transgender policies issued by the Department of Homeland Security, claiming the agency is pushing an “ideologically driven agenda” that could threaten national security.
“[DHS] has a vital mission: to secure America from the many threats we face. We are deeply concerned that your recent announcement will only distract from DHS’s main goal, which is to keep the Homeland safe,” the letter from 26 House Republicans to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, led by Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., says.
Passengers queue up to pass through the north security checkpoint Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in the main terminal of Denver International Airport in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
“We are concerned that with goals to ‘advance civil rights’ based on subjective gender identity and ‘promote equity and inclusion,’ DHS may compromise security to achieve these objectives,” they say.
DHS announced on March 31, which is International Trans Day of Visibility, that it will be replacing “gender-based” Advanced Imaging Technology with new tech that it says will increase security and efficiency by reducing false alarm rates, while improving”customer experience of travelers who previously have been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas.” Separately, the agency will permit “less invasive screening procedures” for those who trigger the scanner in sensitive areas until the new gender-neutral tech is out.
Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program will allow for an “X” gender marker option,” following identity documents such as passports that offer the same thing. The agency is also removing gender considerations when checking ID at an airport.
“This ensures that TSOs can accurately and efficiently validate an individual’s identity while avoiding unnecessary delays caused by a mismatch in gender information on the boarding pass and identification document (e.g., driver’s license or passport) and/or the gender presentation of the traveler,” DHS said.
Republicans suggested the agency was putting gender ideology over its founding missions.
“We worry that focusing on an ideologically driven mission that ignored biological sex will stand in opposition to TSA’s ability to protect our transportation system,” they write.
The letter also noted that Customs and Border Protection has provided guidance to staff on using gender-neutral language and someone’s self-identified pronouns and name. The lawmakers contrast that with the ongoing crisis at the border, where there were more than 221,000 migrant encounters in March alone.
“We implore you to secure the border before worrying about the “preferred pronouns” of illegal aliens,” they say. “There is no national security if our border is wide open.”
The lawmakers conclude by expressing their disappointment that “you have decided to divert time and resources to promote an ideologically driven agenda regarding human sexuality rather than focus on addressing the pressing and timely issues that face our nation.”
Earlier this month, DHS was one of a number of agencies to announce its “equity” plan that will focus on everything from naturalization, access to humanitarian protection, bidding on DHS contracts, countering all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, filing complaints and seeking redress in DHS programs and activities, airport screening and accessing Trusted Traveler Programs.
As a part of the plan, DHS vowed to “identify barriers that may impede access to naturalization among underserved communities” and remove those barriers to make the naturalization process easier. In addition, DHS said it will “expand engagement” with small businesses that are owned by or that support “members of underserved communities.”
The department also noted that it is working to “expand gender-identification options” for certain traveler programs like TSA PreCheck.