Five Minutes of Your Time = Major Impact on Sikh Rights
(New York, New York) November 25, 2010 – The TSA and its intrusive search methods are making national headlines. The Sikh Coalition would like to remind the Sikh traveling public that turbans will now always receive extra scrutiny at the nation's airports.
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Taking on the largest of government agencies on the most high profile, high stake issues is challenging.
Over the past six month the Sikh Coalition has testified before Congress on the issue of Sikhs and airport security and has been a resource for the national press.
Please support this work and help us hold the TSA accountable.
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Please Report Your Travel Experience
In order to help us do our job defending Sikh rights, we ask you to take five minutes this weekend to report your travel experience to us. We will use this information to show the impact of TSA policies on the Sikh American public.
What to Expect at the Airport This Weekend
Air travel checkpoints in the United States employ different screening technologies. While most checkpoints only have metal detectors, many airports are now installing Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines. AIT machines are new whole body imaging devices that will be installed in every airport in the United States over the coming years.
According to the TSA, regardless of whether a Sikh clears the metal detector or the new AIT machines, they will still have to go through an additional procedure in which their turban will be checked for non-metallic items. During this second screening procedure, a Sikh will have a choice of either:
- a pat-down of their turban by a TSA screener;
- patting down their own turban and having their hand swabbed for traces of chemical explosives; or
- requesting a private screening (in a room outside of public view) of their turban.
In addition, after this extra screening of the turban, a third screening procedure (under TSA screening policies) will subject Sikhs to a metal detecting wand that will be scanned over the turban.
If a Sikh traveler opts out of the AIT screening, they will immediately be subjected to a full body (rigorous) pat-down by a TSA official plus a hand wand screening. If you are asked to undergo a full-body pat down, you have the right to ask for this screening to occur in a private room or other setting away from the rest of the traveling public.
Please remember, that under current procedures, a Sikh can always ask that they pat down their own turban rather than have a screener pat it down.
Your Engagement Requested
It is only through reporting that we can make the case that the TSA's search policies are unfair. We once again request you to report your experience and considering financial supporting our work: www.sikhdonate.org .