What is TRIP?
“Traveler Redress Inquiry Program” (TRIP) is a program run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to attempt to resolve travel issues when they have been denied or delayed for airline travel as well as entry and exit into the U.S. at a port of entry or border crossing. The common problem is due to travelers having a name similar or the same as an individual restricted from travel (see below) in the U.S., clearance difficulties may result at an airport, train station, or border crossing. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not have the authority to modify such records and must refer these travelers to secondary inspection.
The terrorist watchlist is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), which is administered by the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, in cooperation with the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State and Treasury, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies nominate individuals for the watchlist based on established criteria. An individual may be placed on the “No Fly” list or the “Selectee” list:
- The “No Fly” List – Individuals who are prohibited from boarding an aircraft; in other words, they will not receive a boarding pass.
- The “Selectee” list – Individuals who must undergo additional security screening before being permitted to board an aircraft.
As part of the inspection process, CBP officers must verify the identity of travelers, determine their admissibility into the U.S., and otherwise ensure compliance with U.S. laws, including looking for possible terrorists, weapons, controlled substances, and a wide variety of other prohibited and restricted items.
The TRIP office acts as a centralized intake office for requests for redress, and then passes the information to the appropriate DHS component (such as TSA, CBP, USCIS, office of biometric information management, office of civil rights and civil liberties, or office of privacy), as well as the Department of State’s bureau of consular affairs or the Department of Justice’s terrorist screening center.
This Is Still A Problem?
Absolutely! Based on its caseload during the past year, TSA is estimating that it will receive 21,670 responses from travelers seeking redress during the coming year.
“This collection [of information from travelers] serves to distinguish misidentified individuals from an individual actually on any watch list that DHS uses, and, where appropriate, this program helps streamline and expedite future check-in or border crossing experiences,” explains TSA in a notice published September 3, 2013 in the Federal Register.
The TSA and DHS are still dealing with mismatched threats of travelers, and the problem seemingly will not go away soon. If you think YOU need TRIP’s help, you’ll find more information here. You may also try emailing TRIP at firstname.lastname@example.org.