I, considering myself to be a normal person, have left behind nary a penny at TSA checkpoints. Alas, it seems that many, many people who have flown through U.S. airports blithely left their loose change abandoned in plastic bins discarded at the end of the cold, metal conveyor belt rollers. Well, now that money could be on its way to funding more immigration detention beds.
According to NBC News, the Department of Homeland Security has requested that the TSA hand over $3 million in loose change collected from trays at airport checkpoints if Congress doesn’t fulfill its $1.1 billion funding request. That request is part of a $232 million package the DHS would have the TSA fork over.
President Donald Trump asked Congress for $1.1 billion for “border operations”—which the White House defined as “personnel expenses, additional detention beds, and operations combating human smuggling and trafficking”—on May 1. Democratic members of Congress such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have vocally opposed such DHS funding, calling it inhumane in a January letter.
We have reached out to the DHS for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
In 2016, travelers left behind more than $867,000 at TSA checkpoints, just over $100,000 than they left behind the previous year, according to CNBC. A 2005 law allows TSA to keep the forgotten money to spend on civil aviation security, though some airports have donation bins for fliers to dump their pocket change, which then go to local charities.
But instead, that money might go to the DHS! So please folks, for the love of all that is unknown, please take your random change out of the TSA bin and move along.