January 27, 2009 - As 2008 came to a close, the Sikh Coalition continued to tally reports of profiling by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at US airports. Reports alleging 100% secondary screening of Sikhs from Oakland and Seattle airports are particularly concerning. The Coalition today released its Fourth Quarter TSA Report Card to track how the TSA's headwear search policy is being implemented on Sikh passengers.
In the first full year of the TSA's headwear search policy, the Coalition made some progress, but various challenges face the Sikh community as we move into 2009. The number of "problem airports" - those from which Sikhs report a nearly 100% secondary search rate of their turbans - is on the rise. Oakland and Seattle airports top the list. This is despite a commitment by the TSA to train its staff nationwide about Sikh articles of faith in 2008. The complete list of problem airports is available in the Sikh Coalition's Q4 TSA Report Card. The report card also includes what you should expect to hear when you pass through security and how to respond to secondary screenings of patkas.
Keep your reports coming! Your stories about airport screenings - good or bad - are what made our progress throughout 2008 possible. Help us keep up this work by telling us what happens every time you fly!
Throughout 2008, the Sikh Coalition collected data about Sikh passengers' experiences at various U.S. airports. To see our progress over the year in our Quarterly report cards, click below.
Know Your Rights: Airport Screening Procedures for Sikh Air Travelers.