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Illegal Immigrants Flight Training Bust Stow MA

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Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
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This happened at AP in my area today, the flight school was seized and shutdown by the Fed's, but the big question is how were these Illegals passing the mandatory back ground tests and getting there pilot license when the checks if done would disqualify them for flight training? Should be interesting to see how this scheme was done, more importantly if the Fed's were approving an application for flight training to an Illegal Immigrant.

STOW MA-The owner of a Massachusetts flight school as well as more than 30 of his students have been charged by federal authorities with being in the country illegally, according to our media partner WCVB-TV Ch. 5

The owner of the TJ Aviation Flight Academy at Minute Man Air Field in Stow and the students received federal clearance to train as pilots despite strict security controls put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I was surprised this morning when I heard. We have been and will continue to cooperate with federal officials," airport owner Don McPherson said.

Some of the 9-11 terrorists trained in the U.S.

Those arrested at the school about 30 miles west of Boston are Brazilian and have no known terrorist ties.

"I was surprised by the way it happened. It shouldn't happen like that," said Ricardo Pereira, who works part-time for the flight school.

Pereira said pilots have some of the best jobs in his country and those who were at the school were there to learn.

"Have you ever heard of a Brazilian terrorist? I am not saying there won't be one or two, but that is not Brazilian stuff," he said.

The Transportation Security Administration is investigating how allegedly illegal immigrants received pilots licenses.

"TSA is responsible for checking foreign nationals who apply for flight training in the United States or with FAA-certified flight training providers anywhere in the world. TSA performs a thorough background check on each applicant at the time of application to include terrorism and other watch list matching, a criminal history check and checks for available disqualifying immigration information," TSA said in a statement.

TSA officials said they will review the process through which foreign nationals obtain clearance to take flight lessons and acquire pilots’ licenses.

The school's owner, Thiago DeJesus, denies he is in the U.S. illegally.

"If they are flying small planes don't see that as a terrorist threat. It seems to me this is an immigration issue," he said.

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