For Immediate Release
(212) 655-3095, Ext 83
Director of Law and Policy
Latest Profiling Scandal Makes Clear Need for TSA Racial Profiling Audit
“Mexicutioners” Allegedly Targeted Mexicans at Honolulu Airport
November 24, 2011 (Washington, DC) – The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States, today renews its call for an independent audit of the civil rights impact of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening policies on racial and religious minorities. The need for an audit is underscored by recent news reports that unrestrained Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers intentionally targeted Mexican travelers for extra scrutiny at the Honolulu International Airport.
According to a disturbing news report broken by KITV-ABC in Honolulu this month, a group of TSA screeners called the “Mexicutioners” by their colleagues deliberately subjected Mexican air travelers to additional questioning and stops at Honolulu International Airport. The allegations follow a June 2011 report in the New Jersey Star-Ledger detailing how TSA officers deliberately subjected Mexican and Dominican travelers to extra scrutiny.
“Given the experience of Sikhs at the airport, we are not surprised by TSA’s latest failure to guard against profiling,” said Amardeep Singh, Program Director of the Sikh Coalition. “For too long the TSA has kept a very long leash for its screeners, telling them not to profile, but taking no effective measures to stop it. The time for double talk has to come to an end. Instead of saying profiling is wrong, the TSA needs to take effective action to stop it. Random, independent audits of its screening practices with the results reported publically is the right place to start.”
Since 2007, Sikh travelers have reported that they are selected for ‘random’ secondary screening 100 percent of time at some American airports, even after clearing advanced imaging technology machines without incident. Responding to profiling concerns, the Sikh Coalition and several major civil rights organizations issued a joint letter to TSA in April 2008 urging the agency to adopt stronger internal controls against racial and religious profiling, but TSA failed to do so.