DHS Deputy Secretary Mayorkas discusses passenger-friendly initiatives

Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas delivered the keynote address on May 21 at the 86th Annual American Association of Airport Executives Conference and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas.


Mayorkas acknowledged the airline industry's role in working closely with DHS to implement stronger international safety measures while detailing efforts to both further protect the public and make travel more efficient.


Mayorkas announced new openings for the Loaned Executive Program on May 7. The initiative allows experts and executive-level officials in the private sector to share their expertise with DHS.


DHS has also made efforts to expedite the process of traveling through an airport.


One initiative led by the Transportation Security Administration provides expedited screenings for pre-approved passengers. Those passengers are not required to remove their shoes during an airport screening and are allowed to keep their laptops in bags, among other ways to expedite travel. More than 20 million travelers have used the program since its launch in October 2011.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection also operates the Global Entry program, which uses biometric identification for approved travelers. Approximately 1.5 million passengers have used the Global Entry program, which can reduce wait times by up to 70 percent.


Other keynote speakers at the Exposition included former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and New York Times columnist Adam Bryant.