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Rubio Reintroduces Cuban Airport Security Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced an updated version of the Cuban Airport Security Act, legislation that would strengthen American security at airports in Cuba and on commercial flights between the two countries.
“Even as regular passenger flights occur between the U.S. and Cuba, the Castro regime remains a top national security threat to the United States and is a close ally of countries like Iran, Russia, Venezuela and North Korea,” said Rubio. “The fact that the Cuban government controls the vetting and hiring of many of the airport employees in Cuba is a serious vulnerability. The United States government needs to ensure robust security measures are in place in order to keep Americans safe. This bill will examine potentially dangerous loopholes, improve transparency, and reduce the risk of someone using access to a Cuban airport to harm Americans.”
Identical legislation, introduced by U.S. Representative John Katko (R-NY) in July, was approved by the full U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.
“While commercial flights travel regularly between the U.S. and Cuba, we are still largely unaware of the day-to-day operations of Cuban airports, employee screening and training, and overall airport security,” said Katko. “This bill will help provide important insight in these areas, while ensuring the safety and security of Americans traveling to Cuba. Senator Rubio has been a leader on issues surrounding the U.S. relationship with Cuba, and I could not ask for a better partner in the Senate to work with on this bill. With this legislation passed through the House, I am hopeful that the Senate will act swiftly so that we can address the current security inadequacies present at Cuban airports and on commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba.”
The bill would require:
- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct a full audit of security at each of Cuba’s 10 international airports, including screening checkpoints, personnel training and vetting, and equipment.
- TSA to establish an agreement with the Cuban government to allow TSA inspectors to conduct complete assessments of Cuban airports.
- U.S. airlines to publically disclose agreements with Cuban government entities that expect the air carriers to employee Cuban nationals recruited, hired or trained by Cuban government affiliates.
- TSA to develop a standard basis for all Federal Air Marshal (FAM) agreements with foreign governments and partners.
- The U.S. Ambassador or the Charge d’Affaires to the U.S. Mission to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to submit a report to Congress detailing its pursuit to improve airport safety and security.
Rubio previously introduced a version of the legislation in September 2016.