Thursday, March 14, 2024

Review - HR 7223 Introduced – Felons and TWIC

Last month, Rep Carter (D,LA) introduced HR 7223, a bill requiring TSA to “develop guidelines to improve returning [from incarceration] citizens’ access to the TWIC program.” No new funding is authorized by the bill.

Moving Forward

Carter, and all three of his cosponsors {Rep Higgins (R,LA), Rep Thompson (D,MS), and Rep Goldman (D,NY)} are members of the House Homeland Security Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that there may be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I suspect that there will be some ‘soft on crime’ opposition to this bill from some Republicans. Whether it will be sufficient to derail this bill in committee is not clear. While I suspect that there would be some level of bipartisan support for the measure, I am not sure if it would be enough to allow consideration under the suspension of the rules process which requires a super majority for passage.


While there is apocryphal evidence that Islamic radicals, neo-Nazis and criminal gangs recruit in US prisons (all folks that we should probably be trying to exclude from the TWIC program), there is little hard evidence on the extent of such recruiting. Even so, it is probably true that prison authorities have a pretty good idea of which releasees are most likely to have been recruited. If that information were available to the TSA as part of their vetting process, the chance of large-scale infiltration of the port infrastructure via the TWIC process would be significantly reduced.

And let’s face it, folks getting out of prison that really want to turn their lives around need to be able to get a decent paying job quickly upon release. A TWIC card is pretty much a ticket to good jobs. The possession of a TWIC by a recently released felon will almost certainly be seen as a sign that someone thinks that that holder has demonstrated some sort of potential at rehabilitation.


For more information about the provisions of the bill, including a background look at crimes that are generally considered to prevent a TWIC approval and the waiver process that provides a way around that issue, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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