STOW (AP/The Blaze) - The owner of a Massachusetts flight school and more than 30 of his students have been charged with being in the country illegally.
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. Some of the 9-11 terrorists trained in the U.S.
Those arrested are Brazilian. The school’s owner, however, is denying that he is in the U.S. illegally.
A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration told The Boston Globe that the agency is investigating how supposed illegal immigrants received pilots licenses.
The security breach has also raised fresh terrorism concerns after flight sanctions were tightened after September 11. Immigration officials stressed Friday that there was no link connecting the two flight school locations and terrorism. But questions remain after the TSA was ordered in 2004 to verify all foreign nationals enrolled in American flight schools.
“There is currently a review ongoing into the circumstances by which these individuals were issued pilots’ licenses," TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.