Obama Homeland Security Official Wants Unvaxxed Put On No Fly List

New York may have vaccine passport rules for being out in some public venues and for some private businesses, but the U.S. won’t do this. There’s no real way to develop national vaccine passports, since data is kept at the state level, is often messy, and systems don’t talk to each other.

We won’t be able to impose national ‘no dine lists’ for restaurants, but the ex- Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security in the Obama administration Juliette Kayyem wants those who haven’t been vaccinated placed on the government’s ‘No Fly List’.

[A] no-fly list for unvaccinated adults is an obvious step that the federal government should take.

…In the piece, originally titled “Unvaccinated people belong on the no-fly list” …Kayyem argued that existing TSA regulations already set the precedent that rules can be enforced to determine who flies.

She says that “protocols divide passengers into categories according to how much of a threat the government thinks they pose.” And she declares, “flying is not a right.”

The argument for vaccination as a requirement to attend events or travel is that vaccination protects others, and it does, but the CDC now argues fully vaccinated people are more likely to spread the virus than before because of properties of the Delta variant. Requiring vaccination to fly but not to go to the gym or go to bars is a rather odd flex, considering the relatively safe cabin environment that helps reduce spread (which isn’t equally true of airports, of course).

In any case, a vaccination requirement for air travel – not likely to be in the cards – is an entirely different matter than using the government’s terrorism lists for this purpose. And I have little sympathy for those who haven’t recovered from the virus or gotten vaccinated.

The ‘No Fly List’ is the government’s pre-crime profiling that keeps people off of U.S. airlines and airlines flying to the U.S. without having been convicted or even charged with a crime. Here’s how the No Fly List works. It includes U.S. citizens who want to fly home, which is a protected right. In 2016 there were 81,000 people on this list, including 1000 U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

It’s a secret list that people haven’t been entitled to know how they got on or to confront the evidence relied upon to put them on it. Legally there is very little recourse, and when challenged the government claims ‘state secrets.’

People get on the list by mistake (FBI agent checking the wrong box on the form or having a name similar to someone else) and even maliciously (such as retaliation for refusing to cooperate in an investigation). Having the government ban travel on all airlines without judicial review is frightening in a democracy.

In any case, travel is very much a right. Justice Douglas wrote in Kent v. Dulles (357 U.S. 116)

The right to travel is a part of the ‘liberty’ of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment.

The ‘War on Terror’ tools like the No Fly List that Democrats criticized when they were introduced by President Bush are being deployed on American citizens, which we learned from Edward Snowden (well, I told you about it pre-Snowden). So it’s no surprise that to see a Democratic administration Homeland Security official look at taking this even further.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Still think this about the completely-survivable (if vaccinated) covid?

    “Come on Man!!” ~Mr. P̶r̶e̶s̶i̶d̶e̶n̶t̶ Potatohead

  2. That is a very broad brush when you cite Kent vs. Dulles.

    Based on the abstract, that was specific to the State Dept denying passports to citizens who they thought had “Communistic beliefs and associations”.

    Flying is not a “right”. I believe there is a law prohibiting states from limiting interstate travel, but otherwise, putting the unvaccinated on a no fly list does NOT infringe on anyone’s rights. You can still travel, just can’t do it on a plane.

    It seems offering money is not enough incentive to get people vaccinated. I personally don’t think the Federal gov’t should mandate vaccines. But something like this done at the local level could help boost vaccination. Disneyland could require vaccination. Same with restaurants, bars, etc. People have a choice whether or not they want to get vaccinated, so do business have the right to refuse service. Vaccination/Un-vaccination is not a protected class.

  3. Not Democrat or Republican. It’s just The Love of Power. And in all times and place that transcends party labels and professed ideologies.

  4. Sounds like a great idea especially since the vaccines will be approved next month and will no longer be “experimental.” Someone needs to protect the children on those flights.
    Restaurant signs will soon be changed to “no shoes, no shirt, no shot, no service.” Plane tickets should have the same notation. And don’t give me some malarkey about a religious exemption. The Jehovas don’t want blood transfusions, other than that I have never heard of a religion objecting to vaccinations. This is America and people have the right to be stupid but they don’t have the right to kill my children. And Gary, don’t play me your broken record about a planes airflow. All it takes is one infected selfish covidiot to sneeze on my child while they are taking two hours to eat a can of Pringles and it’s over…..

  5. Gary! You beat Snowden to the punch!!??
    Why aren’t you writing your blog from Russia?

  6. My body my right. I dont want the government telling me what to do with my body.

    I’m here and I’m un-vaxxed. Your just gonna have to learn to live with it. Cuz im not the one who has to change you do.

  7. Oh makes perfect sense. Get the vaccine that will NOT keep you from getting Covid. It will NOT keep you from spreading Covid. And, in many cases it will NOT keep you from being hospitalized if you live an unhealthy lifestyle. And, let’s not forget, this is NOT even an FDA approved treatment. All you clamoring for restrictions on those who choose a wait and see approach should be the ones having your rights taken away from you because you don’t even respect the rights of others. Foolish sheep.

  8. Why not go further and ban fat people from flying. After all, that is a major factor in getting hospitalized with covid.

  9. you can come in to this country illegally anywhere on the southern border unvaxxed, with covid and get a free ride on a commercial jet to any town USA curtesy of law-abiding, tax paying US citizens. Thanks Joe

  10. Liberals are fascists. Taking a page right out of the communist Chinese playbook.

    Remember the time when liberals passionately criticized govt overreach and govt trying to restrict the rights of Americans? I miss those liberals. The authoritarian liberals of today have become everything they used to warn us about and fight against.

  11. The air filters don’t work during boarding and deplaning. Vaccine mandates for flying are the fastest way we get to no masks on planes.

  12. @Jorge Paez, Tim j,

    Do you also wear Swastika armbands while goose-stepping down the street and sporting the straight-arm salute???

    Get bent, fascists!

  13. Covidiots treat covid like ebola. The left in this country is more of a threat than covid

  14. The “obvious step”, Juliette, is for you and hubby David Barron to stay deep in your bunker until it is safe to come out. I suggest you take refuge until 2024….that way none of us has to listen to your pathetic ideas.

  15. @Jorge Paez
    According to CDC data, as of July 21, 2021 total of 337 dearths among those who are 0 to 17 years old in USA were attributed to Covid-19. Note that about 800 kids are drown each year. Please use your “save the kids” argument for something else.

  16. You heard it here first. Gary has little sympathy for the unvaccinated. Of course the unvaccinated includes young children who don’t have a vaccine they can take yet. This Delta variant is putting some kids in the hospital and some are even dying from it.

  17. Gary readers: “Boy, libs sure are easily triggered”.
    Also Gary readers: *sees Obamas name and a suggestion that they might have to get vaccinated instead of pissing on their fellow americans* “RAGE TANTRUM*

    LMAO. Biggest group of cowards there is.

  18. All for it. If it stops being easy and convenient not to be vaccinated, many more people will get vaccinated, the virus threat will diminish, and we can get back fully to real life. Not only that, but it will be a life saver for some.

  19. Good to see someone in government that understands that liberty is going about your day without others injuring you, which the Constitution protects. Bravo.

  20. Seems like history is repeating itself like Germany circa 1938. My vaccine status is a very personal and private matter between my doctor and myself and is NOBODY else’s business.

    I think the no fly list ought to be ruled unconstitutional on its face (along with any other pre-crime initatives) and there ought to be relentless lawfare launched against the no fly list until that happens.

  21. Juliette Kayyem talks with such authority. I mean who cares what she says. It is a pathetic on her part to speak of people who may not want to get vaccinated for personal reasons. She should be told to plug her lungs surgically because smoking is bad for everyone and I said so. I mean seriously when did our medical choice become the government’s choice? It is not a sin to reject putting unknown chemicals in our bodies that we are not comfortable with. Will she be there to pick up the cost if god forbid someone has a horrible reaction like Bell’s Palsy, paralysis or death. She is a self-righteous, pompous person who obviously supports communism.

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