Grassley seeking reelection for 8th term

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longest-serving Republican senator, said Friday that he will seek an eighth term in 2022, giving the party more confidence in holding the seat as they fight to overtake Democrats’ one-vote margin.

The senator, who turned 88 this month and has held the seat for 40 years, said in an announcement posted on Twitter that there is “a lot more to do, for Iowa.”

Although Iowa has leaned Republican over the past decade, Grassley’s decision now allows GOP Senate strategists more time and money to concentrate on key seats being vacated by retiring Republican senators in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Officials: All migrants are gone from Texas border camp

DEL RIO, Texas — No migrants remained Friday at the Texas border encampment where almost 15,000 people — most of them Haitians — had converged just days earlier seeking asylum, local and federal officials said.

It’s a dramatic change from last Saturday, when the number peaked as migrants driven by confusion over the Biden administration’s policies and misinformation on social media converged at the border crossing connecting Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

At a news conference, Del Rio Mayor Buno Lozano called it “phenomenal news.”

Many face expulsion because they are not covered by protections recently extended by the Biden administration to the more than 100,000 Haitian migrants already in the U.S., citing security concerns and social unrest in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.

The United States and Mexico appeared eager to end the increasingly politicized humanitarian situation that prompted the resignation of the U.S. special envoy to Haiti and widespread outrage after images emerged of border agents maneuvering their horses to forcibly block and move migrants.

On Friday, President Joe Biden said the way the agents used their horses was “horrible” and that “people will pay” as a result. The agents have been assigned to administrative duties while the administration investigates.

Delta Air Lines calls for carriers to share names of unruly passengers

Delta Air Lines is calling for an industry-wide effort to keep passengers from boarding competitors’ flights after being banned for disruptive behavior.

So far this year, Delta says it has submitted the names of more than 600 banned passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration, which has sought to enforce rules against interfering with flight crews.

“We’ve also asked other airlines to share their ‘no fly’ list to further protect airline employees across the industry,” Delta said in a memo this week. “A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline.”

The company did not say whether sharing of passenger lists should be through the federal government or among companies themselves, and declined to elaborate. Delta said it has more than 1,600 people on its internal no-fly list and did not clarify why it submitted fewer than that to the FAA.

At a House Transportation Committee hearing Thursday to address what officials called a “surge in air rage,” committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., pressed a representative of Airlines for America, an industry trade group, on whether one airline can share its list of banned passengers with another airline.

Lauren Beyer, the group’s vice president for security and facilitation, said “there are legal and operational challenges with airlines sharing those lists amongst one another.” A spokeswoman did not immediately clarify the issues Friday.

Citing the problems raised by Beyer, DeFazio said “maybe we can have the FAA create a database and they can ask people to post to that, and then the airlines can access it in the future.”

The FAA was noncommittal about the idea Friday, saying in a statement the agency “is meeting with airports, airlines, unions, and others to discuss what additional steps the FAA and our industry partners can collectively take to continue driving down the number of unruly passenger incidents.”

The agency said its latest data shows a decline in the rate of unruly passenger incidents. It said that as of last week, incidents involving unruly passengers occurred about six times in every 10,000 flights.

“That’s an approximately 50% drop from early 2021, but it’s more than twice as high as the end of 2020,” the agency said Thursday.

In testimony submitted this week to the Transportation Committee, Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, pointed to the “staggering” tally of about 4,300 unruly passenger reports in 2021, the bulk of which were related to mask issues. She called for the creation of “a centralized list of passengers who may not fly for some period of time, and provide airlines with access to the list.”

Nelson cited cases when passengers banned by one airline “promptly fly on another one, putting more crews, passengers and gate agents at risk and sending a message of lax (if any) oversight. This is not acceptable.”

American Airlines said it regularly shares information with the FAA, including the names of banned passengers. Alaska Airlines said it has submitted the names of disruptive passengers to the FAA as part of the agency’s enforcement work.

“Through our alliance with Airlines for America, we support a federal process to deny flying to those who present a risk to safety and security on board our aircraft,” Alaska said in a statement.

An FAA spokesman declined to say how many names of banned passengers it has received from airlines or how the agency uses that information.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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